ST. GEORGE — Suspected Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock set off no red flags when he made a routine purchase at Dixie GunWorx in St. George in February, store staff said Monday, adding that he passed both the store’s rigorous safety checks and federal checks.
“Average, everyday Joe Blow. Nobody that stood out; no red flags – nothing to that effect,” Dixie GunWorx store owner Chris Michel said of Paddock.
Michel said Paddock, who law enforcement officials say is responsible for Sunday night’s mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, came into his store on three occasions and bought one shot gun.
“He didn’t make any other purchases,” Michel said.
Store salesman Loren Michel, who greets customers as they come in and helps with purchases, said his interactions with Paddock weren’t out of the ordinary.
“This guy seemed very mellow, very easy-going,” Loren Michel said. “He seemed to be not uptight.
“Taller gentleman, heavier set, kind of more, you know, the next door neighbor – the grandpa next door is what I kind of remember.”
Dixie GunWorx employs a number of safety checks in all of its transactions.
“We have lots of code words between the staff here at Dixie GunWorx,” Chris Michel said, “If there’s something that just stands out to us, then we’ll throw up a red flag.
“We have denied firearm purchases for people who are really sketchy or something doesn’t add up and makes sense to us. With him, we didn’t have that feeling. None of the staff had any red flags whatsoever.”
He said the staff’s interactions with the man would not influence the decision to sell to someone in the future.
“It was a completely normal purchase,” Chris Michel said of the transaction with Paddock.
“We have the checks and balances in place on our side – not just because we’re a firearms dealer or anything like that – but it’s because of Dixie GunWorx,” he said. “We want to make sure that everything is legit the entire way.”
Loren Michel said political discussions occasionally come up at the store, but Paddock did not talk politics on his visits.
“In a gun store like this, we all talk about politics. We all talk about the good, the bad, the ugly and, unfortunately, this is the ugly. So, I feel for the families down there in Las Vegas. This is bad, it hit close to home.”
Mesquite store manager recounts similar transaction
General manager Christopher Sullivan of Guns & Guitars based in Mesquite, Nevada, said in a statement Monday that Paddock showed no signs of being unfit to buy guns when they sold to him, The Associated Press reported.
Store spokesman Shawn Vincent declined comment on how many guns Paddock bought but said all necessary background checks and procedures were followed under local, state and federal laws and that he’s cooperating fully with law enforcement.
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