[Update: The Los Angeles Times reported on Oct. 10 that the security guard at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino was shot six minutes prior to the gunman opening fire on the crowd below. They write: “Police have dramatically changed their account of how the Las Vegas massacre began on Oct. 1, revealing Monday that the gunman shot a hotel security guard six minutes before opening fire on a country music concert — raising new questions about why police weren’t able to pinpoint the gunman’s location sooner.” The gunman fired approximately 200 rounds down the hotel hallway at the security guard, Jesus Campos at 9:59 p.m.]
59 are dead and 527 injured after a gunman rained down bullets on a country music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sunday, Oct. 1.
More than 22,000 people were in attendance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. At 10:08 p.m. several reports of gunfire were received by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. At 10:14 p.m. an officer can be heard over a radio channel: “I’m inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor, I can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.” However, confusion reigned on the ground, with some reporting the shooting was coming from other locations.
Around 10:20 p.m. some officers reported a lull in the shooting. “It’s been a while since we’ve heard any shots,” the N.Y. Times reports an officer saying. Many of the responding officers believed there were multiple shooters at multiple locations, according to police scanner audio, including reports of a vehicle possibly involved.
The casualties by this point were overwhelming and bodies began to accumulate in the venue area. Concert goers began trying to break into police vehicles to retrieve shotguns to defend themselves from the attack.
Although many media outlets have reported officers and others having a clearer idea of where the shooting was coming from by approximately 10:25 p.m., this is a selective reading of events. Some officers clearly knew it was emanating from Mandalay Bay’s 32nd floor, but it took time for this conclusion to be verified and widely drawn amid the chaos of the street. Some concert attendees told police that there were shooters in the concert venue itself.
As NPR reports, between 10:25 and 10:32 p.m., a contingent of officers knew the shooter’s whereabouts. “It’s Room 135 on the 32nd floor. I need SWAT,” said an officer. “We have a four-man element at the very end of the hall.” A security guard on the floor, beside the elevator, was then shot by the gunman, who had barricaded his room and set up cameras inside a food service cart. Another camera was set up in the hotel room peephole.
By 10:32 p.m. reports of gunfire diminished.
At 11 p.m. the Strip was completely shut down by first responders, who were attending to hundreds of casualties. University Medical Center, Nevada’s only Level-1 trauma center was overwhelmed. Dr. Syed Saquib was the lone trauma surgeon on duty. “We were seeing all kinds of injuries. Gun shots to the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis and extremities,” Dr. Saquib told ABC News. “[We had] walking wounded, patients that were brought in by other family, friends … people coming through ambulance, it was a pretty surreal scene.”
By 11:02 p.m. officers cleared the hallway of the 32nd floor. SWAT was positioned outside of room 135 at approximately 11:08 p.m. Meanwhile, reports of shooters at New York-New York, the Tropicana, and other casinos were being fielded and inspected: “Be advised, we’re getting multiple calls of active shooters at multiple locations. May or may not be diversions [unintelligible] or what.”
At 11:20 p.m. officers breached the room. LVMPD confirmed the shooter’s death via Twitter at 11:58 p.m.
Multiple reports of active shooters were fielded and investigated throughout the night, though none proved true.
Two LVMPD officers were injured in the response, but both are in good condition. Two off-duty LVMPD officers wer killed.
LVMPD confirmed via Twitter that they believe the gunman acted alone. Authorities believe the gunman actively fired upon the crowd for 9 to 11 minutes in what was a meticulously planned attack.
His girlfriend, who was away in the Philippines, was contacted by authorities. She has since arrived in Los Angeles and is in contact with authorities there, but is not considered a suspect.
On a personal note, Calibre Press trains in Las Vegas routinely and I’ve heard from several current and former LVMPD personnel, who are each and all shocked and saddened by this. I wish to express my deepest condolences and appreciation for all you do. If you have any videos or tips, please call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324).