Con­fu­sion over tim­ing of shoot­ing

Ho­tel’s state­ment raises more ques­tions about Las Ve­gas mas­sacre

Weekend Herald - - WORLD - Michael Bal­samo in

Even as in­ves­ti­ga­tors strug­gle to un­ravel the mys­tery of what mo­ti­vated a gun­man to open fire on a Las Ve­gas con­cert crowd, con­fu­sion sur­rounds the se­quence of events in the fa­tal few min­utes of the worst mass shoot­ing in mod­ern United States his­tory.

Yes­ter­day, the ho­tel where gun­man Stephen Pad­dock opened fire from his high- rise ho­tel suite dis­puted the of­fi­cial time­line for the Las Ve­gas mas­sacre and re­jected any sug­ges­tion that ho­tel of­fi­cials de­layed sum­mon­ing po­lice for sev­eral min­utes af­ter the gun­man’s ini­tial burst of fire.

It was the lat­est head- turn­ing change in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion that has been frus­trat­ing for all in­volved.

Since the Oc­to­ber 1 mas­sacre, the time­line of the shoot­ing has changed sev­eral times and po­lice and ho­tel of­fi­cials can’t seem to agree on the ba­sics of when the shoot­ing hap­pened.

In the most re­cent chronol­ogy given by in­ves­ti­ga­tors on Tues­day, po­lice said Pad­dock sprayed 200 rounds into the hall­way on the 32nd floor on Oc­to­ber 1 ( Oc­to­ber 2 NZT), wound­ing an un­armed se­cu­rity guard in the leg, six min­utes be­fore he un­leashed his bar­rage of bul­lets on the fes­ti­val crowd. That raised a se­ries of ques­tions about whether of­fi­cers were given in­for­ma­tion quickly enough to pos­si­bly have a chance to take out the gun­man be­fore he could carry out the blood­shed.

But yes­ter­day, MGM Re­sorts In­ter­na­tional, which owns the Man­dalay Bay, said it was no more than 40 sec­onds be­tween the time the guard used his walkie talkie to call for help and Pad­dock open­ing fire on the crowd from two win­dows in his suite.

The 64- year- old high- stakes gam­bler and real es­tate in­vestor be­gan his 10- minute at­tack on the crowd at 10.05pm lo­cal time, fir­ing more than 1000 rounds from his bashed- out win­dows, po­lice said.

Po­lice didn’t ar­rive on the 32nd floor un­til 10.17pm, t wo min­utes af­ter he had stopped shoot­ing.

The time­line given by po­lice ear­lier this week dif­fered dra­mat­i­cally from the one they gave last week: that Pad­dock shot through his door and wounded Cam­pos af­ter the guard dis­tracted him. Ho­tel of­fi­cials said the re­ported time of the hall­way shoot­ing, which Clark County Sher­iff Joe Lom­bardo said hap­pened at 9.59pm, came from a re­port that was man­u­ally cre­ated af­ter the mas­sacre and “is not ac­cu­rate”.

A spokesman for the Las Ve­gas Metropoli­tan Po­lice Depart­ment de­clined to com­ment on MGM’s state­ment.

The ho­tel said Las Ve­gas po­lice of­fi­cers and armed ho­tel guards im­me­di­ately re­sponded to the shoot­ing and the com­pany is con­tin­u­ing to co- op­er­ate with po­lice.

FBI Di­rec­tor Christo­pher Wray said in­ves­ti­ga­tors hadn’t yet de­ter­mined a mo­tive be­hind the mass shoot­ing but they were still dig­ging.

“There’s a lot of ef­fort be­ing put into un­rav­el­ling this hor­rific act,” Wray told re­porters af­ter a rib­bon­cut­ting for the FBI’s new At­lanta build­ing. “We don’t know yet what the mo­tive is, but that’s not for lack of try­ing, and if you know any­thing about the bureau we don’t give up easy.”

Also yes­ter­day, a fu­neral was held for Erick Silva, a 21- year- old se­cu­rity guard at the fes­ti­val who was shot in the head while help­ing peo­ple climb over a bar­ri­cade to es­cape the gun­fire. Dozens of fel­low “yel­low shirt” se­cu­rity guards were among the hun­dreds of mourn­ers at the ser­vice, where Silva was hailed as a hero.

“We counted on him, and he didn’t let us down,” said his boss, Gina Ar­gento.

Pic­ture / AP

Con­fu­sion sur­rounds the time­line of last week’s shoot­ing.

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