‘This guy seemed very mellow’: St. George gun store staff recalls selling to Las Vegas shooter

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.

Chris Michel, owner of Dixie GunWorx in St. George, Utah, Oct. 2, 2017 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

“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.

Dixie GunWorx in St. George, Utah, Oct. 2, 2017 | Photo by Mike Cole, St. George News

“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.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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22 Comments

  • Caveat_Emptor October 2, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    So far, this guy met all of the criteria to purchase a firearm according to existing gun laws. Had we implemented additional hurdles, such as ruling out purchasers with prior mental health issues, he would still have met the criteria.

    The only way we might have identified a potential risk is having a nationwide database of gun purchases, that would have shown that he accumulated numerous firearms, and plenty of ammunition, over a period of time. The NRA has hobbled the ATF record keeping process, reflecting their campaign donations to do-nothing congressmen who restrict how much information is collected (manually) and how it is stored (cardboard boxes).

    In the coming days we might find that there was some motive in this guy’s mind. So far “no red flags” are appearing.

    • Real Life October 2, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      The NRA goes too far. Protecting one’s right to own and carry, is ome thing. Protecting one’s right to start their own arsenal, now we have a problem. Not to mention the whole automatic assault weapon thing. And yes gun guy, an AR15 is an assault rifle.

      • mesaman October 2, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        You and Caveat are both massaging your own egos, pretending to know far more about the desires and mental status of those of us who own more than a .22 and a Red Ryder bb gun. The key is what is functioning in the brains of those (millions, I might add, who collect several (more than two) guns and who never consider using their weapons to take lives of innocent people, and what is functioning in the brains of those antisocial psychpaths who open fire on innocent victims. Now, if you arrive at a solution of identifying those whose brains are pathological or whose brains become pathological with age, the world, especially the liberal socialists, would welcome you as national heros. And yes, gun guy an AR 15 may meet the tactical weapon criteria, but alas, it is also a sporting and hunting rifle.

      • christoff79 October 2, 2017 at 11:00 pm

        Fake Life, you know a hunting rifle and an AR-15 are BOTH semi-auto rifles right? Both can use high capacity mags, right? So thus Fake Life a hunting rifle IS an assault rifle. I can go to the Sportsman’s Warehouse and get a .308 that’s all decked in camo for deer hunting but no one calls it an assault rifle, yet it can fire at the same speed and carry mags with 45 rounds if I wanted to.

        • Real Life October 3, 2017 at 12:24 pm

          So you agree with me? And get mad about it? Ummmm, ok Chrissy. Mesaman? Just as alwats, your comment is all fluff. Lawman? I appreciate your knowledge on the weapon, but I wonder your thoughts on the mechanism that enables it to shoot much faster, which by the way is legal?

          • Law24 October 3, 2017 at 5:54 pm

            If you are referring to the bump-fire stock configuration that was found on several of this madman’s guns, you are correct, they are legal. As far as my thoughts, I honestly cannot give an educated opinion at this time. I have not taken the time to research the availability, cost, ease if installing, and general reliability reports of such devices. I have seen some videos on youtube of firearms enthusiasts using these devices – they don’t seem particularly reliable. This would fit what I heard in several of the videos of the massacre – the gunfire was broken with lots of pauses, but the time between bursts was not long enough to indicate any kind magazine change was taking place.

      • Law24 October 2, 2017 at 11:58 pm

        First, lets define the term AR-15. AR = Armalite Rifle, originally designed by the company “Armalite” in the 1950’s, and does not stand for term that it is incorrectly labeled with, “Assault Rifle”. As defined – The Colt AR-15 (or other variations of the same style) is a lightweight, 5.56×45mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated semi-automatic rifle.

        Secondly, it is not an Assault Rifle. It is a semi-automatic rifle – one pull of the trigger, one round fired. The M-16 rifle utilized by the US Military is accurately termed an Assault Rifle. Why? Well, its because if its settings. It does have the option of semi-auto fire much like the AR-15. It also has the option of 3-round burst fire, or full-auto, depending in the particular variation.

      • .... October 3, 2017 at 3:01 am

        Ha Ha hey No. Life you just showed how big of an idiot you truly are. LOL. !

        • ladybugavenger October 3, 2017 at 7:11 am

          Hey Dot! I’m so glad your back to share your love for Life!

      • John October 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

        real life…2nd amendment.. Don’t like it ? Go find a country that does not allow their sheep to own guns and move there. . The NRA has nothing to do with this. You are sadly misinformed if you think they do ! You are very wrong on this buddy ! You are on the border of sounding like a true full blooded left leaning communist liberal !

        • Real Life October 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

          I am no liberal. I am for SOME guns, being owned by responsible people (good luck).

          • John October 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

            MY right to own and carry comes from the 2nd Amendment ! Not the NRA ! The NRA only supports the 2nd Amendment , they did not write it or enforce it. It is none of your business if I have 1 weapon or 200. I am responsible and expect most other gun owners to be responsible . You will not mess with my 2nd Amendment rights, PERIOD…….If you are even thinking about infringing on that right you are infected with liberalism whether you admit it or not.

      • Curtis October 4, 2017 at 9:55 am

        Real Life and Caveat_Emptor. Dump on the NRA if you want but remember that it is Congress and not the NRA that writes the laws that control what can be bought and by whom.

  • mmsandie October 2, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    How does someone buy so many guns? If they have to call ATF for approval, don,t they have a record .. of how many guns this guy had over 35 and they have 3 more houses to search in Reno, Texas and Florida..how did he get them 8ntonthe hitel?

    • John October 3, 2017 at 10:32 am

      How does someone buy so many guns? Ha ha ha ! 2nd Amendment , that’s how ! Only a liberal would ask this question.
      how did he get them 8ntonthe hitel? He carried them…duh

    • darkgoddess October 3, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      People can buy/trade guns from private sellers – not all is done on the up and up with background checks, etc. Knew folks that did this all the time back when I lived in Arkansas.

  • jaybird October 2, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Now our (crazy) Senator Mike Lee is promoting a bill to make the sale of silencers immediate upon request – stop to any regulation at all. Considering the mentality of some gun owners, why? It’s a stupid bill that should be taken off the docket!

    • hayduke1 October 2, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      Bird, I didn’t know that the shooter used a silencer.

    • John October 3, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      jailbird is a liberal what do you expect?

  • ladybugavenger October 3, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Hey you guys! Wait a while before you start politicizing gun control. The victims of this massacre and their families need to be comforted first. The bodies are still lying in the street.

  • Curtis October 4, 2017 at 10:04 am

    The St. George gun seller said the buyer met all state and federal laws for purchasing a shotgun. The guy was a Nevada resident so how does he have a Utah drivers license or other proper Utah ID? Also bought guns in Nevada so he must have had ID as an Nevada resident as well.

    • John October 4, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      How did he purchase in Utah? Here’s you’re answer :
      http://smartgunlaws.org/background-checks-in-utah/
      The dealer must require an individual receiving a firearm to present one form of government-issued photo identification. The individual must consent in writing to the background check and provide personal information on a form provided by BCI. The dealer must then contact BCI by telephone or electronic means.3 BCI is required to review criminal history files, including juvenile court records, to determine if the individual is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm by state or federal law, prior to approving a firearm transfer.4 The dealer may not transfer the firearm until receiving approval from BCI.

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