Po­lice de­fend shift­ing shoot­ing time­line

Wit­ness coun­ters first re­ports; more re­vi­sions pos­si­ble

The Mercury News - - News - By Mark Ber­man

Since the Las Ve­gas gun­man opened fire from his 32nd floor ho­tel suite, killing 58 peo­ple at a coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val last week and in­jur­ing hun­dreds more be­fore shoot­ing him­self, ques­tions have swirled around the at­tack.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors plumb­ing Stephen Pad­dock’s life in search of an­swers have been so far un­able to ex­plain what mo­ti­vated him to carry out the ram­page, why he stopped shoot­ing and whether he planned even more car­nage beyond the Man­dalay Bay Re­sort and Casino.

In re­cent days, a new un­cer­tainty level has emerged, as ques­tions emerged about law en­force­ment re­sponse to the shoot­ing af­ter po­lice re­vised their ac­count of what hap­pened be­fore and dur­ing the mas­sacre.

Ten days af­ter the shoot­ing, key de­tails about what un­folded re­main a mys­tery, while of­fi­cials can­not seem to agree on ba­sic facts about the time­line.

Po­lice in Las Ve­gas, who had pre­vi­ously said Pad­dock shot a ho­tel se­cu­rity guard dur­ing the ram­page, re­versed course Mon­day and said the guard was ac­tu­ally wounded six min­utes be­fore the mass shoot­ing be­gan.

The rev­e­la­tion from Joseph Lom­bardo, the Las Ve­gas sher­iff, gave way to a new round of ques­tions, in­clud­ing when in­for­ma­tion about this shoot­ing was re­layed to ho­tel se­cu­rity and when, or if, that de­tail was then given to the lo­cal po­lice. So far, nei­ther the po­lice or the ho­tel have of­fered any an­swers, and both sides have in fact sug­gested there could be fu­ture re­vi­sions to the time­line.

“No­body’s try­ing to be ne­far­i­ous, no­body’s try­ing to hide any­thing, and what we want to do is draw the most ac­cu­rate pic­ture we can,” Lom­bardo said Wed­nes­day. “I’m telling you right now, to­day, that that time­line might change again.”

MGM Re­sorts, which owns the Man­dalay Bay, re­leased a state­ment Tues­day night cast­ing doubt on the lat­est timetable Lom­bardo had an­nounced. In the state­ment, the com­pany said it “can­not be cer­tain about the most re­cent time­line” re­leased pub­licly “and we be­lieve what is cur­rently be­ing ex­pressed may not be ac­cu­rate.”

MGM did not elab­o­rate on what part of the po­lice time­line was in­ac­cu­rate and did not re­spond to ques­tions re­gard­ing what it was dis­put­ing, what hap­pened in­side the ho­tel and whether ho­tel se­cu­rity of­fi­cials are re­quired to im­me­di­ately call the po­lice upon re­ports of gun­shots. Through a pub­lic re­la­tions firm, MGM de­clined to make any em­ployee avail­able for an in­ter­view Wed­nes­day, and said: “Se­cu­rity has been and con­tin­ues to be a top pri­or­ity at all of MGM Re­sorts.”

The Las Ve­gas po­lice did not re­spond to ques­tions Wed­nes­day about the re­vised time­line or whether they stood still by it. In his in­ter­view with 8 News Now, a lo­cal TV af­fil­i­ate in Las Ve­gas, Lom­bardo at­trib­uted shift­ing time­line to po­lice be­ing trans­par­ent.

Lom­bardo also said the time­line could shift again due to the “hu­man fac­tor,” ex­plain­ing that it was pos­si­ble some­one re­port­ing the time the first shots were re­ported could have not writ­ten down the cor­rect time.

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