LAS VEGAS (AP) — Authorities don’t believe an Arizona man committed a federal crime or had any involvement or knowledge of the planned attack when he sold ammunition to the gunman in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.
The official wasn’t authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Douglas Haig was publicly named as a “person of interest” by mistake Tuesday when his name wasn’t redacted in court documents released nearly four months after the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 people.
The documents did not disclose why authorities considered Haig a person of interest, and officials haven’t said whether he has since been cleared of that designation.
Haig’s name came on the radar of law enforcement when a box with his name was found in the Mandalay Bay hotel suite that gunman Stephen Paddock used as a perch, said the law enforcement official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Records show Haig also owns Specialized Military Ammunition LLC. The company’s website says it sold tracer and incendiary ammunition but is now “closed indefinitely.”
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press in October that Paddock bought 1,000 rounds of tracer ammunition from a private seller he met at a Phoenix gun show three weeks before the shooting. The official spoke anonymously because they weren’t authorized to disclose case information.
Tracer bullets contain a pyrotechnic charge that illuminates the path of fired bullets so shooters can see whether their aim is correct.
Haig told the AP on Tuesday that he sold unspecified ammunition to Paddock.
He also told “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday that he sold more than 700 rounds of ammunition to Paddock.
“I couldn’t detect anything wrong with this guy,” he said of Paddock.
Haig’s attorney, Marc Victor, said his client wishes he could have figured out the intentions of Paddock but defends the sale of ammunition as legal.
The ammunition sale took place at Haig’s home in Mesa, Arizona, because he didn’t have all the ammunition on hand that Paddock wanted while at the gun show.
It’s unknown whether the ammunition Haig sold to Paddock was used in the attack.
The lawyer said the type and quantity of ammunition Paddock bought from his client wasn’t unusual.
Robert Spitzer, an expert on firearms and the Second Amendment, said by and large there are no restrictions on the amount of ammunition a person can buy, but a large sale of tracer ammunition would certainly be unusual.
Only six states in the U.S. have laws requiring that ammunition buyers pass a background check. Arizona and Nevada do not have such a requirement, nor do they mandate that dealers keep a record of ammunition transactions.
“If you are in the business of selling anything, you are usually happy to make the sale, and there’s nothing that says you need to write down this person’s name or report the sale,” said Spitzer, who is the chairman of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland.
Steven Howard, a firearms consultant in Lansing, Michigan, said based on videos of the shooting he has seen, he does not believe Paddock used tracer ammunition. Had he used it, Howard said, even relatively low-quality cellphone video would have shown the very bright projectile trajectory.
Victor said his client sold ammunition to Paddock once and doesn’t believe they have communicated since. He added that Haig has cooperated with investigators who contacted him within 24 hours of the shooting and has spoken to them probably four or five times, though he hasn’t talked to them in months.
Las Vegas police and officials with the FBI, U.S. attorney’s office in Nevada and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives each declined Wednesday to comment about Haig or the investigation.
Haig, who describes himself as a senior engineer for Honeywell Aerospace in his biography on the professional and social media platform LinkedIn, plans to hold a news conference Friday to discuss his interaction with Paddock.
Meanwhile, the coroner in Las Vegas released redacted autopsy records about the 58 people killed in the mass shooting at an outdoor concert. Records relating to Paddock were not being provided.
The records were released Wednesday in response to a public records lawsuit filed by The Associated Press and Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Haig’s name was blacked out in the more than 270 pages of search warrant records released by a Nevada judge to the AP, but remained on one page of documents provided to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The newspaper published the name online. Clark County District Court Judge Elissa Cadish later ordered the full document not be published without redactions, but she acknowledged she couldn’t order the newspaper to retract the name.
Billeaud reported from Phoenix. Balsamo reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Ken Ritter in Las Vegas and Anita Snow in Phoenix contributed to this report.