Saturday, February 24, 2018
Public safety

New disclosure shows a casino guard alerted hotel to gunman before Las Vegas massacre began

Before the Las Vegas massacre began, a wounded Mandalay Bay hotel security guard called hotel officials to warn them about a gunman on the 32nd floor, an investigator told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday.

But police did not arrive at the room where the guard had been shot until after Stephen Paddock had finished a 10-minute shooting rampage on a crowd gathered below for a country music festival, the investigation now shows. Fifty-eight people were killed before Paddock killed himself.

The revelation that hotel security had been alerted comes a day after Las Vegas police changed their time line of how the Route 91 Harvest country music festival massacre started on Oct. 1 — not with an attack on a crowd along the Strip at 10:05 p.m., but with the shooting of Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos inside the hotel about six minutes before.

"He called it in before" the attack began, possibly using a hallway phone to contact hotel security, Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts told the Los Angeles Times. "He manually called down and he used his radio to call. That's what we were briefed this morning."

Roberts said he didn't know precisely what time Campos called in his own shooting before the assault on the concert began, or whether the hotel immediately passed the information to police.

"We just don't know how long it took him to call. He's getting shot at, he's running, he's getting shot, he finds some cover, that's when he starts calling in," Roberts said.

Representatives for Mandalay Bay have not responded to the Los Angeles Times' requests for more information.

Paddock, 64, a real estate investor and professional gambler from Mesquite, Nev., may have also continued to shoot into the hotel hallway. There are some indications that a maintenance worker appeared in the hallway outside Paddock's door during the shooting rampage, and the gunman may have interrupted his firing at the crowd to shoot once again into the hallway, Roberts said.

But Roberts said, "I don't think it took long at all" for the hotel and for police to respond to the shooting.

Roberts said the hotel dispatched its own armed security team to the 32nd floor, which arrived "right around the same time" as Las Vegas police, who officials have said arrived on the floor at 10:17 p.m. But the gunman had already fired his final shots out his hotel window at 10:15 p.m. By the time police entered the room, Paddock had killed himself.

Some police officers had already been inside the Mandalay Bay building responding to another, unrelated call when the attack happened, Roberts said.

There are no surveillance cameras in the hotel hallway, only on the floor's elevator banks, and the timestamps on the hotel's communications systems have in some cases been inaccurate, hampering investigators' ability to build an accurate time line while they try to find a motive for the gunman, Roberts said.

"Please remember this: Our focus has been all along finding if there were other unknown subjects and trying to trace his steps and trying to do all these things," Roberts said. Compiling the sequence of events in the hallway, he said, "has not been the priority for us."

He said officials hope to release a complete time line on Friday.

Roberts also praised Campos. "In my opinion, I believe he disrupted the subject, interrupted him," Roberts said. "The fact the security guard did what he did, when he did it, shortened the amount of time that he was going to be shooting on the crowd, in my opinion. It moved up his time line."

Officials said Paddock had mounted cameras outside his hotel room and first started shooting at Campos through the door of the room when the guard came to check an alert for an open door on another guest's room. Campos was hit in the leg. Officials estimated Paddock shot 200 rounds into the hallway.

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