Shortly after investigators revised the timeline of the Oct. 1 mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, the Los Angeles Times reported that even before gunman Stephen Paddock began his deadly assault on the 22,000 fans from his 32nd floor room, a wounded Mandalay Bay Hotel security guard called hotel officials to warn them about a gunman.
According to the paper, Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts told the paper that Mandalay security guard Jesus Campos alerted hotel officials of suspicious activity six minutes before Paddock opened fire at 10:05 p.m. This new information came a day after the Las Vegas Police Department altered the timeline of the incident, amending it to start when Campos was shot inside the hotel six minutes before Paddock began raining bullets down on the unsuspecting country fans below, killing 58 and injuring more than 500 in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.
“He called it in before” the attack began, possibly using a hallway phone to contact hotel security, said Roberts. “He manually called down and he used his radio to call. … That’s what we were briefed this morning.” Roberts didn’t know exactly what time Campos called in his own shooting before the gunman’s assault on the show began, or if the hotel immediately shared that information with police.
“We just don’t know how long it took him to call. He’s getting shot at, he’s running, he’s getting shot, he finds some cover, that’s when he starts calling in,” Roberts said. A spokeswoman for the company that owns Mandalay Bay appeared to dispute the police timeline given to The Times on Tuesday, but did not explain why.
“This remains an ongoing investigation with a lot of moving parts. As evidenced by law enforcement briefings over the past week, many facts are still unverified and continue to change as events are under review,” MGM Resorts International spokeswoman Debra DeShong said in a statement. “We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.”
The paper also reported that the 64 year-old shooter from Mesquite, Nev., may have continued shooting into the hotel hallway after striking Campos, with indications that a maintenance worker appeared in the hallway outside Paddock’s door during the shooting rampage, and that the gunman may have interrupted his firing at the crowd to shoot once again into the hallway, Roberts said. “In my opinion, I believe he disrupted the subject, interrupted him,” Roberts said in praise of Campos. “The fact the security guard did what he did, when he did it, shortened the amount of time that he was going to be shooting on the crowd, in my opinion. It moved up his timeline.”
As previously reported, the hotel sent its own armed security team to the 32nd floor after the shooting rampage had ended, with that contingent arriving around the same time as the Las Vegas Police, who were on the floor around 10:17 p.m., two minutes after Paddock had stopped shooting; Paddock was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when a SWAT team breached the door of his hotel room nearly an hour later.
Campos was struck in the leg by some of the approximately 200 rounds Paddock fired into the hallway. Police said they found more than 20 guns and a large cache of ammunition in the hotel room, as well as a bullet-proof vest and tracer rounds, which help light up a bullet’s path to help a shooter’s accuracy.
On Wednesday (Oct. 11), CNN reported that Paddock shot special “incendiary” rounds at a 43,000-gallon fuel tank on the grounds of the McCarran International Airport near the site of the festival. The bullets are meant to ignite whatever they hit in what officials say was a possible attempt by the shooter to cause an explosion; some of those rounds (also referred to as “tracer” bullets) were found in Paddock’s room as well as near a fuel tank near McCarran. Authorities previously revealed that two rifle rounds struck a tank at the airport.