At a Monday press conferece, Las Vegas police offered a major update to the timeline of the shooting that took place last Sunday. As you may have heard, Stephen Paddock shot a hotel security guard named Jesus Campos by firing hundreds of rounds through his door, which he was monitoring with security cameras. Last week, police had stated that Campos’ arrival interrupted Paddock’s 10-minute long attack on the people attending a concert 32-floors below. But today, authorities revealed Paddock actually shot Campos before the attack began. From the LA Times:
“Mr. Campos was encountered by the suspect prior to his shooting to the outside world,” Lombardo said at a Monday news conference.
Police officers who started searching the hotel after the shooting began didn’t know a hotel security guard had been shot “until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator,” Lombardo said.
Charles “Sid” Heal, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s commander and tactical expert, said the new timeline “changes the whole perspective of the shooting.”
Heal said that if police had known immediately that a guard had been shot, they would have rushed the room while the gunman was still firing. He said it seemed to signal a breakdown in communication.
So two issues here. First, police don’t know why Paddock stopped firing. Second, the hotel apparently didn’t notify police immediately that one of their security guards had been shot. According to the timeline given previously, police initially went to the 31st floor as the shooting was still taking place. They then went to the floor above and encountered Campos. By that point, the shooting had stopped and police took another full hour to breach the room. Here’s the previous timeline published by the LA Times:
10:05 p.m.: First shots fired by the suspect. This was seen on closed-circuit television from the concert venue.
10:12 p.m.: First two officers arrive on the 31st floor and announce the gunfire is coming from directly above them.
10:15 p.m.: The last shots are fired from the suspect per body-worn cameras.
10:17 p.m.: The first two officers arrive on the 32nd floor.
10:18 p.m.: Security officer tells LVMPD officers he was shot and gives exact location of the suspect’s room.
If the police had known about the shooting of the guard they’d have had several additional minutes to get to the hotel plus they would have arrived on the correct floor immediately instead of five minutes after going to the 31st floor. And if they’d arrived while the shooting was still taking place, they might have been seen by Paddock, distracting him, or they might have breached the room immediately. Either way, it seems those additional minutes could have made a difference to people on the ground. The Mandalay Bay ought to explain why the information about Campos being shot didn’t make it to authorities immediately.