MGM Resorts International, owner of the Mandalay Bay hotel, is disputing the latest official timeline released by police outlining the sequence of events leading up to the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead.
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According to the latest official timeline, Paddock opened fire on a pair of hotel employees, security guard Jesus Campos and maintenance man Stephen Schuck, before taking aim at the concertgoers across the street. Both men called their dispatchers to report trouble, but neither the police account of the ensuing moments nor publicly transmitted police radio traffic indicate when the hotel security office dialed 911.
Campos was shot about six minutes before the rampage began, according to police, raising the question of whether precious minutes had been wasted in the chaos.
In a statement released on Thursday, however, MGM Resorts International said reports of a gap those initial calls and hotel security’s response are based on an error in a “manually created” report that was compiled “without the benefit of information we now have.”
“We know that shots were being fired at the festival lot at the same time as, or within 40 seconds after, the time Jesus Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio,” the statement reads. “Metro officers were together with armed Mandalay Bay security officers in the building when Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio. These Metro officers and armed Mandalay Bay security officers immediately responded to the 32nd floor.”
Police say the current timeline will be revised again by Friday.
Hotel officials believe the response by casino staff was swift and saved lives, but the lawyer for one victim has begun asking the first uneasy questions as part of what is expected to be a rash of victims’ lawsuits focused on the initial response by the hotel.
“Was 911 called? The whole chain of command seemed to be broken down here,” said Mohammed “Mo” Aziz, a lawyer hired by shooting victim Paige Gasper. “For six minutes nothing happened, and then this criminal started shooting at innocent people.”
The lawyer’s questions Tuesday have put a new focus on the still-murky timeline for the moments leading up to the shooting. The shifting accounts from authorities first indicated a casino security guard was the last person to be shot before the shooter took his own life. Then they said he was the first to be injured.
Officers did not reach the 32nd floor until at least 18 minutes after Campos was shot in the thigh, according to the official timeline, and they appeared to have no idea he had been wounded at all before finding him.
“We have a security officer also shot in the leg on the 32nd floor. He’s standing right by the elevator,” a Las Vegas Metro policeman radioed, in a recorded transmission 20 minutes after Campos was hit by Paddock’s gunfire.
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo confirmed this fact publicly.
“They weren’t aware of him being shot until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator,” Lombardo said.
Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts told reporters Monday that police are still studying the timeline, but he does not think the lag was long under the circumstances.
“I don’t think the delay, or the time lapse is that long — in my opinion,” Roberts said. “I think the security guard saved a lot of lives — he interrupted this guy and sped up his plan, in my opinion.”
In part, the response time may have been slowed by a decision to shut down the elevators, a move by hotel management described by Schuck in an NBC News interview. Some police had to climb an unknown number of flights of stairs carrying weapons and body armor.
At 10:16 p.m., an officer radioed his dispatch to “contact Mandalay Bay and have ’em shut down their elevators so he [the gunman] can’t get mobile and we can take the stairs and block all the stair exits.
One officer was later heard on police radio traffic breathing heavily and announcing he’d made it up to the same level the gunfire was erupting from. “I’m in a stairwell on the 32nd floor,” he says in a hushed voice.
Sgt. Mike Quick, a retired Las Vegas SWAT team veteran, said the Mandalay Bay is a sprawling property, with a number of impediments.
“That’s a 3,000-plus room casino hotel, I mean that’s a major resort eating up acres and acres of property,’he said. “So just parking and getting through the front doors is going to be an exercise in time.”