Jim's Blog

Gun Dealer Arrested for Sales to Vegas Shooter : A Well Thought Out Scream by James Riordan

GunDealer9When you read the headline to this blog, I’m sure many of you thought, “Well, it’s about time.”  Not yet and it’s more about ammunition than guns. The truth is that the guns laws are so weak that authorities had to do quite a stretch to charge Douglas Haig, 55, who is a gun dealer from Mesa, Arizona.  Haig became the first person arrested and charged in connection with the Oct. 1 massacre, which ended when the perpetrator, Stephen Paddock, killed himself. Haig has acknowledged selling hundreds of rounds of tracer bullets to the gunman responsible for killing 58 people in Las Vegas but actually charged on Friday with conspiracy to make and sell armor-piercing ammunition without a license.

The criminal complaint alleges two unfired .308-caliber (7.62mm) rounds that were found in gunman Stephen Paddock’s hotel room had Haig’s fingerprints on them as well as tool marks from his workshop. The bullets in the cartridges were armor-piercing, with an incendiary capsule in the nose, the complaint says. On October 19, the FBI searched Haig’s Mesa home and seized ammunition that agency says is armor-piercing, the complaint said. Haig did not have a license to manufacture armor-piercing ammunition, documents said.

GunDealer1Paddock strafed a crowd of outdoor concert-goers with rapid-fire gunshots from his high-rise suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel before police stormed his room to find the 64-year-old retiree dead. No motive for the massacre has ever been established. He killed 58 people and shot and injured 422 others. In addition more 850 others suffered other injuries in the attack.

Haig told a news conference at the office of his attorney on Friday that none of the surplus military ammunition he sold Paddock in September was ever fired during the killing spree, which ranks as the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.  Haig said he had no inkling of any criminal intent by Paddock. The ammunition dealer said Paddock told him, when asked, that he planned to use the tracer bullets to “put on a light show either with, or for, his friends” in the desert.

In a Friday morning news conference before his arrest, Haig, responding to the documents’ release, said he sold tracer ammunition to Paddock at his home in September after they met at a gun show. Tracer ammunition has a pyrotechnic charge that, when fired, leaves an illuminated trace that can help a shooter have a more precise idea of where the bullet is going. Haig said he was certain

December 16th, Larry, The owner of Larry Guns behind a display of AR 15's and AK 47s, says he is selling his high ticket value guns better then ever at the gun show in the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana held by Great Southern Gun and Knife Shows L.L. C. . Gun sales have increased since the school shooting massacre in Sandy Hook Connecticut, especially AR 15s, one of the types of guns used by shooter Adam Lanza, as gun owners fear new legislature will soon regulate sales of such guns.
December 16th, Larry, The owner of Larry Guns behind a display of AR 15’s and AK 47s, says he is selling his high ticket value guns better then ever at the gun show in the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana held by Great Southern Gun and Knife Shows L.L. C. . Gun sales have increased since the school shooting massacre in Sandy Hook Connecticut, especially AR 15s, one of the types of guns used by shooter Adam Lanza, as gun owners fear new legislature will soon regulate sales of such guns.

the gunman never used any of the 720 rounds of magnesium-packed tracer bullets Paddock had purchased from him. “You would have seen red streaks coming from the window. And there weren’t red steaks coming from the window,” he said.

Haig did not describe the ammunition as armor-piercing. Victor, at the same news conference at his Phoenix-area office, said the tracer ammunition that Haig sold Paddock “was not modified in any way … from manufacturer’s specs.”

But in Friday’s criminal complaint, investigators say Haig and an associate also claimed they sold to Paddock other ammunition — four or five 10-round packages of .308-caliber incendiary ammunition — at a Las Vegas gun show in August.

It’s not clear from the complaint whether the two armor-piercing rounds with the incendiary capsule are from the packages Haig allegedly told investigators he sold Paddock at the gun show. The complaint also does not say whether Paddock fired any of the ammunition that he bought from Haig.

Two law enforcement sources told CNN in October that Paddock, during the massacre, fired incendiary bullets at a 43,000-barrel fuel tank on the grounds of nearby McCarran International Airport in what investigators believe was a failed attempt to cause an explosion. Haig did not mention the incendiary rounds — which are meant to ignite what they hit — in Friday’s news conference. Victor, his attorney, declined to comment about CNN’s questions about the incendiary rounds.

GunDealer4His lawyer, Marc Victor, suggested the casualty toll would have been lower had the tracer rounds been used, because victims would have seen the trajectory of gunfire in the dark and been able to take cover more easily. “It’s probably a bad thing that the ammunition Doug sold was not used,” Victor said.

The maximum penalty for manufacturing illegal ammunition is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Haig’s attorney, Marc J. Victor, said he had no comment when reporters caught up with him outside court, and that he couldn’t say anything because of the ongoing case. “My first obligation and only obligation is to my client,”

GunDealer5The law enforcement sources also said tracer rounds were found in Paddock’s hotel room. But there was no evidence the tracer rounds were used during the attack, according to the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about such details.  Authorities have repeatedly said Paddock was the only shooter. Friday’s charges do not allege that Haig knew of Paddock’s intentions to kill in Las Vegas.

Haig, an aerospace engineer and part-time ammunition reseller, said at Friday’s news conference that he never saw anything suspicious in Paddock’s demeanor when he visited Haig’s home to make the purchase. He was very well dressed, very well groomed, very polite, very respectful – told me what he wanted, I gathered it up, put it in a box, told him what he owed me. He paid me, put it in his car and drove away,” Haig recounted.  Victor called it “a routine transaction to purchase a routine type of ammunition that is available in many different retail outlets throughout the sate of Arizona.” Victor said the two men had no further contact.

“At no time did I see anything suspicious or odd or any kind of a tell, anything that would set off an alarm,” Haig said.  He also said that he received death threats after his name was revealed this week. He stressed that his sale made “no contribution” to the killings since Paddock didn’t appear to have fired tracer rounds. “I hope today ends (the death threats) when people realize that I wasn’t in collusion with Paddock — that I was not in any way, shape or form associated with the horrible crime that he committed,” Haig said.

GunDealer11Victor said Haig got into the ammunition re-sale business in 1991 as a hobby, and has always been a “law-abiding citizen.”  Haig was charged with a single count of conspiracy to manufacture and sell armor-piercing ammunition, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the statement.

The criminal complaint does not name Haig’s associate.  Filed in a U.S. District court in Phoenix, the complaint  said Haig previously had run an internet business selling armor-piercing bullets – including high-explosive and incendiary rounds – throughout the United States.  It said some merchandise sold through that business consisted of cartridges that had been “reloaded,” or assembled from component parts, though Haig lacked a license to make such ammunition for sale.

According to the complaint, Haig insisted to investigators that while he reloads ammunition cartridges for himself, he never offered them to paying customers and that none reloaded by him would turn up at the crime scene in Las Vegas.


However, prosecutors said Haig’s fingerprints were found on some of the unfired rounds in Paddock’s hotel suite and that armor-piercing cartridges recovered there bore tool marks matching the reloading equipment in Haig’s workshop.

Haig made an initial court appearance before a federal magistrate in Phoenix and was freed on his own recognizance under conditional release pending a Feb. 15 status conference set for the case, prosecutors said.

Haig was released on his own recognizance with specific conditions not spelled out in court proceedings. He is due in court again February 15 for a preliminary hearinghe complaint

Up until Haig’s name emerged, the only other person of interest named in the Vegas shooting was Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley. She last issued a public comment three days after the shooting and has kept a low profile since then. She said she had been “devastated” by Paddock’s crime, and she has cooperated with authorities during the investigation. Authorities have said that Paddock, who killed himself with a shot through the mouth, was the only gunman to fire on the crowd.

GunDealer2Haig said he didn’t even know the shooting had occurred until he was called by federal authorities 11 hours after the massacre. Haig said that he starts his days early at 6 a.m. and that, when told what happened, he felt “revulsion.”

But he also thought that, as the months passed, his sale of ammunition to Paddock would be a footnote that would eventually fade away. When his name came out, the spotlight burned bright on a man who, according to his LinkedIn page, had developed ammunition and weapons for defense contractors. He is currently listed as a senior engineer at Honeywell Aerospace.

Then on Tuesday, his name was published, then broadcast nationwide.  Haig had been named a “person of interest” in search warrants unsealed Tuesday. But his name mistakenly had not been redacted from one document, and it was published and then broadcast. For the rest of the week, he said, he endured death threats and was hounded at his home for his connection to Paddock. Recounting events from Friday, Haig said the last doorbell ring at his house came at 2 a.m. Up until that point, it had been a steady stream of rings and knocks at his home. One woman shouted through his door that he should die.

GunDealer12“I don’t know who they are or what they want,” Haig said. “I’d just keep the lights off and stay quiet.”

The 55-year-old Arizona man said he learned about his name being made public while he was at work Tuesday. “My cellphone started to explode

“It’s not been a lot of fun, quite frankly,” he said.

He did an interview with “CBS This Morning” the day after his name was made public, saying he sold Paddock the tracer ammunition. “He said he was going to go put on a light show,” Haig said in the interview. ” And I can’t remember whether he said for or with his friends, but that’s what he did say.” His attorney said Haig hoped that holding a news conference would help him restore his reputation.

Haig said after the 2 a.m. doorbell ring Friday, he was able to get some sleep and arrived at his attorney’s office around 8:30 a.m. He said, however, he had to first escape his house. But this took planning. Haig said he waited for a garbage truck to pull up and used it as cover to leave.

Haig drove by himself to the law firm in an office park in Chandler, a Phoenix suburb. He said he saw the television crews setting up tripods outside the law office and suddenly realized he was unsure what to expect.

“Yeah, I was nervous,” he said.

When he stepped out in front of the lectern, his attorney, Marc Victor, introduced him. Victor, a high-profile attorney in Arizona who served as a legal analyst for media during the Jodi Arias murder trial, helped prepare Haig.

Haig was direct with his answers — though he had to be reminded at several points during the 20-minute news conference to lean into the microphones clustered atop the lectern.

He said he spoke with law enforcement on four separate occasions for at least six — and maybe eight — hours.

But the charging documents show authorities served a search warrant on Haig’s residence Oct. 19 and seized over 100 items, including armor-piercing bullets. Haig didn’t mention that at the news conference.

Haig said he met Paddock at a gun show in Phoenix and later sold Paddock the ammunition at his house. Nothing aroused suspicion, he said. Haig said he usually ships ammunition or sells it at the gun show, but occasionally lets people come by his house to make a purchase.

“I have to trust them,” he said.

Haig said he isn’t selling ammunition anymore, and he wasn’t sure if he’d ever get back into it again.  “I don’t know,” he said. “I truly don’t know.”

When the search warrant documents were released this week, Clark County District Court Judge Elissa Cadish allowed a small portion of those records to be redacted because “there is an ongoing investigation regarding charges against another individual, arising out of information obtained in connection with the … shooting, but not directly related to the shooting.”

In response to a question from CNN in January, the Clark County sheriff, Joe Lombardo, said federal authorities were investigating a person in the case. That person could face federal charges not directly related to the shooting within the next 60 days, the sheriff said January 19.

Lombardo didn’t disclose the person’s name, saying those details were “under federal grand jury disclosure” rules.

On Friday morning, before his arrest, Haig answered a reporter’s question about whether he believed he was that person.  “No. I don’t think it’s me at all,” Haig said.















The Author

James Riordan

James Riordan

Rare is it that any author will have one of his books described as the definitive work on a particular subject, but such a distinction has been bestowed by critics on no less than four books written by James Riordan. The New York Times Bestseller Break on Through, Riordan’s biography of Doors lead singer Jim Morrison, has not only been called “the most objective, thorough and professional Morrison biography” by the Times Book Review but also named as one of the Ten All Time Best Rock Biographies by Amazon.com. Riordan’s The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco) was called “One of the best how-to books ever written” by the Los Angeles Daily News and “The ultimate career book on the music industry” by Recording, Engineer & Producer. Critics described Riordan’s The Bishop of Rwanda as “one of the most important books you’ll ever read.” and The Coming of the Walrus, Riordan’s novel about the 60s as “the definitive book on the era” and “a hilarious tale of a harrowing search for the greatest truth of all”. With the release of A Well Thought Out Scream and Madman in the Gate, Riordan pushed the boundaries again with poetry/song lyric books that contain hundreds of stunning, beautiful and poignant images from artists and photographers from all over the world. In the summer of 2013 a new edition of The Coming of the Walrus was released to rave reviews followed by The Kill Switch. The author of thirty-three books, James Riordan’s career began in the music industry where as a songwriter, manager, producer and concert promoter he worked with several well known artists. In 1976 he began writing a newspaper column, Rock-Pop, which he later syndicated. Riordan soon became one of America’s premier rock journalists with articles reaching millions of readers including those of Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy, Circus, Musician, and newspapers like The Chicago Daily News and The Kansas City Star. His reputation for relating on a one-to-one level soon led to interviews with George Harri-son, Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Frank Zappa, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Mandrell, Crosby, Stills & Nash and countless others. His first book, The Platinum Rainbow (written with Bob Monaco in 1980) became the largest selling book ever written about the music business. The guide to “succeeding in the music business without selling your soul” was praised by Variety ,The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Las Vegas Sun, The Minneapolis Tribune, Billboard, Record World and many more. The Platinum Rainbow became an industry-wide phenomenon and interviews with James Riordan were aired on over 1200 radio stations and numerous television talk shows. Next Riordan collaborated with Pulitzer Prize winner Jason Miller on a mini-series for network television (The Irish) and a movie of the week for CBS (Bless Me Father). In June 1991, William Morrow & Co. published Break On Through to outstanding sales and reviews. Riordan worked as a consultant on Oliver Stone’s film of Morrison’s life, The Doors, which led to his writing Stone’s biography. Published by Hyperion /Disney in December 1995, Entertainment Weekly called STONE “an unflinching biography... enough spectacle to fill a month of daytime-TV talk shows.” The New York Post said reading the book was like “the sensory overload of watching all of Oliver Stone’s movies back to back.” Riordan was interviewed by Inside Edition, People Magazine, The Tom Snyder Show, and many others. From 1997-2000, Riordan created and co-starred in a local television program, Kankakee Valley Prime Time, which won six Crystal Communicators, three Tellys, and earned Riordan a Chicago/ Midwest Emmy Nomination for Writing the program. In the summer of 1999, James Riordan wrote, directed and starred in Maddance, an hour long dramatic project which won Crystal Communicators for Drama, Writing, Acting and Directing. On April 9, 2000, James’ 16 year old son, Jeremiah, was killed as a passenger in an accident that involved three drunk drivers. Shortly after this, James founded Make it Stick which works to warn teens of the dangers of substance abuse and publishes a magazine distributed to high school students. In 2001, he founded Jeremiah’s – A Place to be Yourself to give teens a place to hang out away from the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Force to close by its incredible growth rate, Jeremiah’s was recognized as one of the fastest growing and most successful teen centers in the United States. In 2004, Toastmasters International named Riordan Communicator of the Year for Central Illinois, the YMCA gave him their Service to Youth Award and the United Way named him the Outstanding Volunteer of Kankakee County. Returning to writing, Riordan went to Africa to write The Bishop of Rwanda, (with an intro by Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren). In November of 2006, Harper Collins released a new edition of Break On Through followed by The Coming of the Walrus (Image Workshop) in December and The Bishop of Rwanda (Thomas Nelson, Inc.) to rave reviews (“Powerful …plumbs the depths of God’s forgiveness and finds no bottom – Publisher’s Weekly). In 2011, he won the Pledge For Life Harold Award for his work with area youth. In the summer of 2012, Lee and Shane Stanley (Gridiron Gang) optioned Maddance as a feature film followed by Apothecary Films optioning The Kill Switch in 2013 and Omni Films optioning Final Service to film in May. Riordan joined the staff of the Mancow Syndicated Television and Radio show in January of 2014 and is now seen and heard across America on a weekly basis. His biography is included in Who’s Who in Entertainment , Who’s Who in Poetry and Contemporary Authors of America. James Riordan – Works Books The Kill Switch, novel with Andrew Dahlmaine, Stonegate Ink, 2013 The Coming of the Walrus, Trade Paperback Editn, Image Workshop 2012 Springboard To Heaven ( Jojo Sayson Adventure), Image Workshop, 2012 The Elijah Collection, novel collection with Bill Myers, Zondervan, 2011 The Well Thought Out Scream (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 Madman in the Gate (Poetry/Art), Image Workshop Press, 2009 The Deadly Loyalty Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Ancient Forces Collection, Forbidden Doors, Zondervan, 2009 The Enemy Strikes with Bill Myers (Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 Deception with Bill Myers (Book 2 Elijah Project series. Zondervan, 2009 The Bishop of Rwanda (Finding Forgiveness) Thomas Nelson, March 2007 Paperback Edition May, 2012 The Coming of the Walrus (What Really Happened in the '60s) IW, 2006 Break on Through (The Life & Death of Jim Morrison), Morrow, 1991. (New York Times Bestseller, Published in 5 languages, Hardcover, 5 Paperback Editions, Harper Trade Paperback November, 2006) Stone (The Controversies, Excesses & Exploits of a Radical Filmmaker), Disney/Hyperion,1995. (Published in 3 languages, Hardcover, Paperback Edition). Making It in the New Music Business, Writers Digest Books, 1987, (Second Edition, Revised and Updated 1991, Two Hardcover Editions) The Platinum Rainbow (How to Succeed in the Music Business Without Selling Your Soul) 250,000 copies with Bob Monaco, Swordsman Press, 1980, Twenty-Three Editions, Revised 1988) 25 Year Anniversary Edition, 2005 Capture the Wind (Microphones) w.Tom Lubin, Literary Mouse Press,1989 Private Biography of Russ Kalvin, founder of Kalvin Corp., 1990 Private Biography of Steve Stefano, founder of Joico Hair Products, 1993. Mystery of the Invisible Knight (Book 2 in the BloodHounds Series) with Bill Myers, Bethany House,1997. Matters of the Heart (The Life & Times of Edgar Cullman), Culbro, 1997. The Curse (Book 7 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1997. The Undead (Book 8 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1996. The Scream (Book 9 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1998 The Ancients (Book 10 Forbidden Doors) with Bill Myers, Tyndale, 1999. The Cards (Book 11 Forbidden Doors Series) with Bill Myers, Tyndale,2000 Films Final Service, co-written with Gary Moore and based on his book, Omni Productions, to be filmed in May, 2014. Maddance, Writer/Director/Lead Actor, Search Engine Films, Simmcomm, 1999. (Winner of 4 Crystal Communicators including Best Drama, Screenplay, Director, Male Actor – Austin, TX.1999) Performance (The Life of Ingrid Bergman), Screenplay, Lancit Productions 1998. Returned to Author when film division closed)Rewritten2009 Shadowdancers, Story & Screenplay, Story with Bill Myers, 1997 Dr. Babylon, Story 1996. Air Guitar, Story & Screenplay, 1994 The Platinum Rainbow, Story & Screenplay, 1993 Television/Video Kankakee Valley Prime Time, Writer, Director, Producer, 1997-2000. (Nominated for Midwest/Chicago Emmy for Writing, 1998, 3 Telly Awards, 4 Crystal Communicators 1998-2000). Angels Among Us (The Amtrak City of New Orleans Train Disaster, Co- Producer, (Telly Award, 2000). River Valley Sports Authority, Producer, 1999-2003. I Hate The World (Hypnoises Music Video), Writer/Director/Producer, Crystal Communicator for Best Music Video Concept, 1998). The United Way (Video) Crystal Communicator for Best Video for a Charitable Organization, 1998.

If it isn't money and it isn't fame and it isn't sex... then what... God?

— James Riordan, 2000

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