Benjamin Paddock, father of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, was added to the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List” after escaping a Texas prison in 1969. Archives show the elder Paddock’s criminal history had an early start in Chicago. | FBI photo

Father of Las Vegas shooter started life of crime in Chicago

SHARE Father of Las Vegas shooter started life of crime in Chicago
SHARE Father of Las Vegas shooter started life of crime in Chicago

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock’s father was born in Wisconsin, but Chicago is where he spent his formative years on the way to life as a con man, records show.

Benjamin Paddock was born in 1926 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and his parents settled with him in Chicago by 1940, according to historian Travis Gross, executive director of the Sheboygan County Historical Society.

The family bounced around a few Chicago apartments, and Benjamin Paddock attended high school in the city, though it’s unclear whether he graduated.

“He did most of his growing up in Chicago,” Gross said.

Newspaper clippings indicate Benjamin Paddock started a life of crime in Chicago during his late teens. A 1946 article in the Chicago Daily Tribune described him as a former merchant marine seaman living on the Northwest Side, who admitted to stealing 12 cars by using stolen U.S. Army stationery to acquire bills of sale, and then selling the vehicles for $1,200 each.

That landed Benjamin Paddock in the Illinois State Penitentiary, better known as the old Joliet prison, in his first of two stints during the 1950s. He also served time for conspiring to pass false checks.

He was imprisoned when his son Stephen Paddock — who would go on to carry out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history — was born in Iowa in 1953.

Stephen’s brother, Eric Paddock, has said that their father was not around much, though they moved with him to the Phoenix area, after his second release from prison.

That’s where the eldest Paddock committed a string of bank robberies. He was arrested in Las Vegas after trying to run down an FBI agent with his car in 1960, Gross said.

He escaped from a federal prison in Texas in 1968, putting him on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list, which said he was “diagnosed as psychopathic.”

Benjamin Paddock took on an assumed name and moved to Oregon, where authorities tracked him down in 1978. After being paroled for the escape, he was charged with racketeering in 1987 for an illegal bingo operation in Oregon.

He died near Fort Worth, Texas, in 1998.

Contributing: Associated Press

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