‘Some­one’s fir­ing a gun up here’

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - WORLD NEWS - MICHAEL BALSAMO

A main­te­nance worker said Wed­nes­day he told ho­tel dis­patch­ers to call po­lice and re­port a gun­man had opened fire with a ri­fle in­side Man­dalay Bay be­fore the shooter be­gan fir­ing from his high­rise suite into a crowd at a nearby mu­si­cal per­for­mance.

The re­vised time­line has re­newed ques­tions about whether bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion might have al­lowed po­lice to re­spond more quickly and take out the gun­man be­fore he com­mit­ted the dead­li­est mass shoot­ing in mod­ern U.S. his­tory.

Worker Stephen Schuck told NBC News that he was check­ing out a re­port of a jammed fire door on the 32nd floor of Man­dalay Bay when he heard gun­shots and a ho­tel se­cu­rity guard, who had been shot in the leg, peeked out from an al­cove and told him to take cover.

“As soon as I started to go to a door to my left the rounds started com­ing down the hall­way,” Schuck said. “I could feel them pass right be­hind my head.

“It was kind of re­lent­less so I called over the ra­dio what was go­ing on,” he said. “As soon as the shoot­ing stopped we made our way down the hall­way and took cover again and then the shoot­ing started again.”

Po­lice said Mon­day they be­lieve gun­man Stephen Pad­dock shot a ho­tel se­cu­rity guard through the door of his suite six min­utes be­fore he un­leashed a bar­rage of bul­lets into the crowd of con­cert-go­ers, killing 58 peo­ple and in­jur­ing hun­dreds more.

The in­jured guard used his ra­dio and pos­si­bly a hall­way phone to also call ho­tel dis­patch­ers for help.

That ac­count dif­fers dra­mat­i­cally from the one po­lice gave last week when they said Pad­dock fired through the door of his room and in­jured the un­armed guard af­ter shoot­ing into the crowd.

The com­pany that owns Man­dalay Bay has ques­tioned the new time­line.

“We can­not be cer­tain about the most re­cent time­line,” said De­bra DeShong, a spokeswoman for MGM Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional. “We be­lieve what is cur­rently be­ing ex­pressed may not be ac­cu­rate.”

Las Ve­gas po­lice did not re­spond Tues­day night to ques­tions about the ho­tel’s state­ment.

“Our of­fi­cers got there as fast as they pos­si­bly could and they did what they were trained to do,” Las Ve­gas as­sis­tant sher­iff Todd Fa­sulo said ear­lier Tues­day.

Gun­shots can be heard in the back­ground as Schuck re­ported the shoot­ing on his ra­dio, telling a dis­patcher: “Call the po­lice, some­one’s fir­ing a gun up here. Some­one’s fir­ing a ri­fle on the 32nd floor down the hall­way.”

It was un­clear if the ho­tel re­layed the in­for­ma­tion to Las Ve­gas po­lice, who did not re­spond to ques­tions from The As­so­ci­ated Press about whether ho­tel se­cu­rity or any­one else in the ho­tel called 911 to re­port the gun­fire.

Joseph Gi­acalone, a pro­fes­sor at John Jay Col­lege of Crim­i­nal Jus­tice and a re­tired New York City po­lice sergeant, said the new time­line “changes ev­ery­thing.”

“There ab­so­lutely was an op­por­tu­nity in that time­frame that some of this could’ve been mit­i­gated,” he said.

Ni­cole Rapp, whose mother was knocked to the ground and tram­pled at the coun­try mu­sic con­cert said she’s “hav­ing a hard time wrap­ping my head around” why po­lice changed the time­line of the shoot­ing.

“It’s very con­fus­ing to me that they are just dis­cov­er­ing this a week later,” she said. “How did we not know this be­fore? It’s trau­matic for the vic­tims and their fam­i­lies not to be sure of what hap­pened.”

The six min­utes that passed be­tween the hall­way shoot­ing and the start of the shoot­ing into the crowd wouldn’t have been enough time for of­fi­cers to stop the at­tack, said Ron Hosko, a former FBI as­sis­tant di­rec­tor who has worked on SWAT teams. Rather than rush in with­out a game plan, po­lice would have been for­mu­lat­ing the best re­sponse to the bar­ri­caded gun­man, he said.

“Maybe that’s enough time to get the first pa­trol­man onto the floor but the first pa­trol­man is not go­ing to go knock on that cus­tomer’s door and say ‘What’s go­ing on with 200 holes in the door?’ ” Hosko said.

Un­der­sh­er­iff Kevin McMahill de­fended the ho­tel and said the en­counter be­tween Pad­dock and the se­cu­rity guard and main­te­nance man dis­rupted the gun­man’s plans. Pad­dock fired more than 1,000 bul­lets and had more than 1,000 rounds left in his room, the un­der­sh­er­iff said.

“I can tell you I’m con­fi­dent that he was not able to fully ex­e­cute his heinous plan and it cer­tainly had ev­ery­thing to do with be­ing dis­rupted,” McMahill said. He added: “I don’t think the ho­tel dropped the ball.”

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