Ve­gas Strip shoot­ing wit­nesses de­scribed chaos, com­pas­sion

The Maui News - - DATEBOOK - By KEN RITTER The As­so­ci­ated Press

LAS VE­GAS — Wit­ness ac­counts of gun­fire, chaos, bloody bod­ies and des­per­ate bids to sur­vive last year’s mass shoot­ing in Las Ve­gas emerged Wed­nes­day in po­lice re­ports made pub­lic seven months af­ter the dead­li­est event of its kind in mod­ern U.S. history.

“I was lay­ing next to my mom and she said, “I got hit. I got hit,” one woman told po­lice in one of dozens of ac­counts made pub­lic af­ter The As­so­ci­ated Press and other me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions filed a law­suit seek­ing the records. “I then saw blood come out of her mouth.”

Names were blacked out in more than 1,200 pages of re­ports made pub­lic on a DVD by Las Ve­gas po­lice.

The ac­counts did not pro­vide a mo­tive for the at­tack, which po­lice have said they have not dis­cov­ered. But they de­scribed in de­tail the ter­ror, con­fu­sion and com­pas­sion to care for the wounded that was sowed when Stephen Pad­dock rained gun­fire from a 32nd floor ho­tel room down on the 22,000 peo­ple at­tend­ing the Route 91 Har­vest Fes­ti­val con­cert on Oct. 1.

“There was a noise to our right. And ev­ery­body just kept yelling, like ‘Oh, it’s fire­works,’ ” one woman told in­ves­ti­ga­tors. “A cou­ple of sec­onds later, um, I fell to the ground and I couldn’t feel my arm.”

She added: “Within sec­onds of that, like, the sec­ond round of bul­lets came through and ev­ery­body just hit the ground.”

A man who was with the woman saw she was bleed­ing, “and then it dawns on me. I’m like, ‘There’s ob­vi­ously an ac­tive shooter. You know, you lit­er­ally — I just kicked into a mode of ‘We have to get out of here.’ ”

They ran for cover and es­caped to a street where a limou­sine driver drove them to a hos­pi­tal where the woman re­mem­bered hall­ways full of stretch­ers with peo­ple in them.

“And they couldn’t get names of ev­ery­body just be­cause there were so many peo­ple,” she said.

Pad­dock killed 58 peo­ple and in­jured hun­dreds be­fore killing him­self as au­thor­i­ties iden­ti­fied his perch from his ho­tel room in the Man­dalay Bay re­sort.

Las Ve­gas po­lice two weeks ago made pub­lic video from two of­fi­cers’ body cam­eras show­ing po­lice blast­ing through the door of the ho­tel suite where Pad­dock is seen mo­tion­less on his back with a pool of blood stain­ing the car­pet near his head and a cache of as­sault-style weapons strewn about.

Po­lice and the FBI have said they don’t know a mo­tive for the at­tack, but be­lieve Pad­dock acted alone and the at­tack had no link to in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism.

Me­dia out­lets sued to ob­tain videos, 911 record­ings, ev­i­dence logs and in­ter­view re­ports to shed light on the re­sponse by pub­lic agen­cies, emer­gency work­ers and ho­tel of­fi­cials dur­ing and af­ter the shoot­ing.

The depart­ment has not pro­vided all the ma­te­ri­als it com­piled.

Depart­ment lawyers who op­posed re­leas­ing the in­for­ma­tion called the pub­lic records re­quest costly and time-con­sum­ing, and said it could dis­close in­ves­tiga­tive tech­niques.

Clark County Sher­iff Joe Lom­bardo said early this month the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion was not fin­ished, and apol­o­gized to the pub­lic for the re­lease of in­for­ma­tion that he said would “fur­ther trau­ma­tize a wounded com­mu­nity.”

Sgt. Jeff Clark, a depart­ment spokesman, said au­thor­i­ties would not com­ment about the doc­u­ments re­leased Wed­nes­day. FBI spokes­woman San­dra Breault in Las Ve­gas also de­clined to com­ment.

A pre­lim­i­nary re­port re­leased by Lom­bardo in Jan­uary said Pad­dock metic­u­lously planned the at­tack and scouted po­ten­tial tar­gets in at least four cities where he rented rooms in build­ings over­look­ing out­door con­certs.

Po­lice re­ported find­ing thou­sands of rounds of am­mu­ni­tion and dozens of guns in Pad­dock’s ho­tel rooms and his homes in south­ern and north­ern Ne­vada.

Doc­u­ments say about 100 pounds of ex­plo­sive ma­te­rial was found in his ve­hi­cle parked at the Man­dalay Bay re­sort in Las Ve­gas.

Pad­dock’s girl­friend, Mar­ilou Dan­ley, who was in the Philip­pines at the time of the shoot­ing, de­scribed to in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­la­tion­ship dif­fi­cul­ties with the 64-year-old re­tired ac­coun­tant, mil­lion­aire real es­tate in­vestor and high-stakes gam­bler.

Lom­bardo said it ap­peared Pad­dock was on a gam­bling los­ing streak, and po­lice re­ported find­ing just $273 in cash in his ho­tel room.

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