LAS VEGAS – The Arizona man who sold illegally manufactured tracer and armor-piercing bullets to the gunman who carried out the Las Vegas Strip massacre has been sentenced to prison time.
Douglas Haig, 57, was sentenced Tuesday to 13 months in federal prison for manufacturing ammunition without a license.
Haig, of Mesa, Arizona, was not accused of a direct role in the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting that killed 58 people and injured more than 850 at an open-air music festival – the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
But in the hotel room from which the shooter staged his attack, investigators located a box with a shipping label showing Haig’s name and address.
In November 2019, Haig pleaded guilty in U.S. court in Nevada to illegally manufacturing the tracer and armor-piercing bullets found in shooter Stephen Paddock’s hotel room.
“Doug had no indication whatsoever about Stephen Paddock’s plans,” defense attorney Marc Victor said during a prepared statement outside U.S. District Court in Las Vegas. Haig declined to comment.
When Haig learned of the tragedy, he was “absolutely devastated,” Victor said.
Haig acknowledged before U.S. District Judge James Mahan that he had no license to disassemble, remanufacture and reload bullets at his home workshop in Mesa, according to the Associated Press.
He used the business name Specialized Military Ammunition during sales on the internet and at gun shows around the country.
Haig closed the business permanently following an FBI raid less than three weeks after the shooting, Victor said. As a convicted felon, Haig now cannot possess weapons or ammunition.
Haig, an aerospace engineer, acknowledged publicly in 2018 that he sold 720 rounds of tracer ammunition to Paddock in the weeks before the massacre. Tracers illuminate the path of fired bullets.
Haig said he hadn’t noticed anything suspicious about Paddock during the exchange at his home. A criminal complaint filed in Phoenix said Haig told investigators that Paddock went to his car to get gloves and put them on before accepting the purchase.
Authorities said Haig’s fingerprints were found on unfired bullets in the high-rise hotel suite from which Paddock spent more than 10 minutes firing more than 1,000 rounds into the open-air concert crowd before killing himself.
Ammunition in the room also bore tool marks consistent with Haig’s reloading equipment, prosecutors said, and Haig’s address was on a box that police found near Paddock’s body. Authorities have not said if ammunition made by Haig was used in the shooting.
Police and the FBI determined that Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant and high-stakes video poker player, meticulously planned the attack and acted alone.
Investigators theorized that Paddock may have sought notoriety but said they never determined a clear motive.
Contributing: Ken Ritter, Associated Press.
Ed Komenda writes about Las Vegas for the Reno Gazette Journal and USA Today Network. Do you care about democracy? Then support local journalism by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal right here.