- REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Las Vegas authorities on Friday clarified some of the much-disputed timeline surrounding the mass shooting on October 1, shutting down what they called conspiracy theories that have attempted to explain a supposed six-minute gap between the first reported gunshot fired at a security guard and the massacre of dozens of concertgoers.
A timeline provided by authorities on Monday had indicated that the security guard, Jesus Campos, had been shot through the door of gunman Stephen Paddock’s Mandalay Bay suite at 9:59 p.m. that evening. This prompted confusion, as authorities had also said Paddock opened fire on the concertgoers at 10:05 p.m., at which point the hotel notified police of gunshots. Officers then arrived at Paddock’s suite at roughly 10:17 p.m., officials had said.
That timeline would have left a six-minute period between the first shot being fired at Campos and police being summoned. But on Friday, Sheriff Joe Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said that while the information “wasn’t inaccurate” when it was provided, some of the “circumstances associated with it” had been inaccurate.
Instead, Lombardo said, Campos was not shot at 9:59. He said Campos was more likely shot closer to 10:05 – mere moments before Paddock opened fire on the crowd through the windows of his 32nd-floor suite. Lombardo said the 9:59 time stamp remains significant, however, because that was the time entered into a security log indicating when Campos had attempted to gain entry to the 32nd floor of the hotel to respond to an open-door alarm.
When Campos first attempted to enter the 32nd floor, he found a barricaded entry, forcing him to ascend to a higher floor and approach the 32nd floor from a different entry point, Lombardo said.
Campos then went to the doorway he had been dispatched to originally and was shot by Paddock, Lombardo said. Campos relayed news of the shooting via his radio and cellphone, Lombardo said.
MGM Resorts, the parent company of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, also spoke out on Thursday to deny the timeline police had given on Monday.
“The 9:59 p.m. PDT time was derived from a Mandalay Bay report manually created after the fact without the benefit of information we now have,” the company said in a statement. “We are now confident that the time stated in this report is not accurate.”
Lombardo also assailed accusations that law enforcement officials were either covering up details of the shooting, or had been mistaken due to ineptitude.
“In the public space, the word ‘incompetence’ has been brought forward, and I am absolutely offended with that characterization,” he said, adding that investigators have compiled a daunting amount of information in an effort to understand what happened.
Lombardo said the information being analyzed includes security logs, interviews with Campos, body camera footage, hotel camera footage, dispatches from the LVMPD and the Los Angeles Police Department, and interviews from witnesses.
“Imagine bringing all of that together to provide a picture,” he said. “There is no conspiracy between the FBI, LVMPD, and the MGM. Nobody is attempting to hide anything.”
Lombardo also said that the fuel tanks that were struck by Paddock’s gunfire had been “fired upon with intent.” He added that experts in fuel storage are advising Las Vegas officials on safety protocols “out of an abundance of caution,” but there is a low probability that the gunfire could have ignited the aviation fuel.