“Jesus Campos wants to tell his story at a time and place of his choosing,” his employers told the media yesterday after questions arose over his sudden disappearance last week. The time will be today, and the place will be The Ellen Show. NBC’s Today has a clip from what will apparently be the hero of the Vegas massacre’s only public appearance:
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 18, 2017
In clips of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” supplied to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Campos reviewed the events of the shooting, recounting how he was alerted to check on a door that was ajar. He said he was on the stairwell going from the 31st to the 32nd floor and came upon a door that was blocked and wouldn’t open. So he rerouted through a hallway and called security dispatch to get an engineer to check on the blocked door. The worker summoned would be Schuck.
Campos said he then heard drilling sounds and believed the slamming of the heavy door he passed through to get to the 32nd floor alerted Paddock to his presence. Paddock shot through the door and hit Campos in the leg.
“I was walking down and heard rapid fire,” he said. “And at first I took cover. I felt a burning sensation. I went to go lift my pant leg up and I saw the blood. That’s when I called it in on my radio that shots have been fired.
“And I was going to say that I was hit, but I got on … my cellphone just to clear radio traffic so they could coordinate the rest of the call.”
The other man on the couch is maintenance worker Stephen Schuck, who credits Campos with saving his life. As Schuck appeared on the scene, Campos yelled at him to take cover just before a volley of bullets flew in his direction. “Within milliseconds,” Schuck told DeGeneres, “if he didn’t say that I would have got hit.” That matches up with the original explanation of the events that took place in the hallway.
While Campos’ disappearance still seems curious, police tell the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he only disappeared from the media. Investigators remained in touch with Campos over the last several days and praised his cooperation with the investigation. Moreover, the timeline changes that initially raised questions about Campos’ story have been resolved, and match up with his testimony now. The door-ajar alarm was for the stairwell, not a guest room, and Campos arrived just before the first shots went out the window. As has been speculated before, it appears that Campos forced Paddock into action and got the police to the room a lot sooner than Paddock had anticipated.
Campos’ disappearance may have been motivated by the media. While he seems poised in this interview, Campos told DeGeneres that this would be the only media appearance he plans to make:
DeGeneres praised Campos as a “hero” and said he had saved Schuck’s life and the life of the hotel guest. She presented them both with gifts: for Schuck, tickets to meet and watch the Indianapolis Colts; for Campos, season tickets to the Oakland Raiders when they make their planned move to Las Vegas.
When DeGeneres suggested that Campos’s appearance on her show would be his only public comment on the attack, Campos nodded in agreement.
“You being shot in the leg saved so many people’s lives,” DeGeneres said. “We just wanted to celebrate you.”
Campos would prefer to remain uncelebrated, which isn’t such a bad quality for heroes.
Update: Big reaction to this on Twitter, with the most popular response being, “On Ellen?” This one was pretty clever:
Why Ellen? Could he not get on "Say Yes to the Dress" or "Chopped?"
— Mattphilbin (@Mattphilbin) October 18, 2017
Maybe he’s a fan of DeGeneres, or maybe all he wanted to do was tell his story and get off the stage — which is a lot easier to do on soft-interview shows than on more traditional news platforms. Perhaps Campos doesn’t want too many questions that go farther afield of the shooting itself. We probably won’t know why, but we do know that the Las Vegas police are satisfied that he’s fully cooperating.