According to an unnamed official who has been briefed on the investigation, the Mandalay Bay hotel did not call police until Stephen Paddock began firing out the window at concert-goers. Based on the current timeline given by authorities Monday, one of the hotel’s own guards had been shot six minutes earlier:
The disclosure means there may have been a delay of some six minutes in summoning police to the scene of what became the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The official was briefed by law enforcement but wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity…
“These people that were killed and injured deserve to have those six minutes to protect them,” said Chad Pinkerton, an attorney for Paige Gasper, a California college student who was shot under the arm in the attack. “We lost those six minutes.”
But that is not the end of this story. As I noted yesterday, a spokeswoman for the hotel claimed yesterday that the official police timeline may not be accurate but didn’t explain what was wrong with it. Moments ago (as I write this) the hotel released a statement about the timeline apparently in response to the AP story:
FULL STATEMENT: From MGM, owners of the Mandalay Bay, on the timeline of the shooting: pic.twitter.com/8KBu4kT2E1
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) October 12, 2017
This represents another significant revision to the police timeline. MGM is not claiming that hotel guard Jesus Campos took more than five minutes to radio in and say that he’d be shot (at least I don’t think so), they are suggesting there was no six minutes gap. Campos radioed in “at the same time as” or perhaps 40 seconds before Paddock began firing out the windows. Presumably he’d been shot a short time earlier, though MGM doesn’t say exactly when. MGM also doesn’t say why the “manually created” report stated the shooting happened at 9:59 pm and they don’t explain what new information they have that proves this was wrong. But obviously, since they are making this public statement, they are convinced internally that this new information is more accurate.
The new statement is also at odds with another claim that has been part of the official timeline since last week. Police said that officers arrived on the 31st floor a couple of minutes before the attack was over. It then took another five minutes before officers arrived on the 32nd floor, by which time the Paddock had stopped shooting. One of the questions I asked earlier is why those officers weren’t immediately directed to the floor where Campos had been shot. Why go to the 31st floor if you know the shooter in on the 32nd floor? According to this new statement, they did go directly to the 32nd floor.
Again, MGM isn’t really explaining the contradiction here. Are they saying that no officers went to the 31st floor? Then why did police report that they did and that they could still hear Paddock firing on the floor above?
Finally, this new account doesn’t explain the previous statement from Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.stating, “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 says officers didn’t know about Campos until they stumbled onto him but MGM says officers were with Mandalay Bay security when Campos first radioed in that he’d been shot and that they went immediately to his location (32nd floor), presumably because Campos had told them that’s where he and the shooter were located.
If there’s a way to harmonize these two accounts of what happened, I’m not seeing it yet. Either the police knew about Campos or they didn’t. Either the hotel told them about Campos or they didn’t. And looking back over that statement they never really say that the police knew or that they informed them, only that they went directly to the 32nd floor. Am I parsing this too finely at this point? I honestly don’t know what to make of this.
MGM is worried about bad PR and lawsuits, probably justifiably so given the statement above from one of the victim’s attorneys. But ultimately it’s the responsibility of investigators to finally nail down this timeline and explain it in a way that makes sense of all of the various reports we’ve heard so far. Based on this new statement, it seems they haven’t managed to do that yet.