In­jured at shoot­ing scene, of­fi­cer stayed to help

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Meghin De­laney Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

Las Ve­gas po­lice of­fi­cer Sa­muel Wit­twer knew im­me­di­ately that he had in­jured him­self.

It hap­pened less than 10 min­utes af­ter he ar­rived at the back of the Route 91 Har­vest mu­sic fes­ti­val to help flee­ing con­cert­go­ers re­viewjour­nal.com/lvshoot­ing

es­cape the gun­fire on Oct. 1, 2017.

“I felt some­thing pop. Oh, yeah, it’s bro­ken,” the 32-year-old of­fi­cer can be heard say­ing on re­cently re­leased body cam­era footage from the Metropoli­tan Po­lice Depart­ment.

Through­out the night, he talks about his foot and an­kle be­ing bro­ken. He later learned that he had bro­ken two bones in his leg.

Wit­twer’s ac­tions were briefly

men­tioned by Sher­iff Joe Lom­bardo in the af­ter­math of the mass shoot­ing, but the footage re­leased on Dec. 19 shows the night from his per­spec­tive. Wit­twer spoke to the Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal on Fri­day in his first me­dia in­ter­view about the events of that night.

Slowed by the in­jury, Wit­twer and of­fi­cer Ash­ley Lif stay at the scene, although they re­treat from the gates of the fes­ti­val to pro­vide se­cu­rity for an am­bu­lance at a med­i­cal stag­ing area nearby.

“With the sit­u­a­tion we had, it was the best thing we could have done,” Wit­twer said Fri­day.

Through­out the video, Wit­twer is heard telling fel­low of­fi­cers, medics and con­cert­go­ers that he is fine and ask­ing them to con­tinue treat­ing shoot­ing vic­tims first.

Af­ter about 90 min­utes at the scene, Wit­twer ends up in the back of an am­bu­lance, head­ing to a hospi­tal for treat­ment.

‘I felt some­thing pop’

Wit­twer’s body cam­era starts record­ing at 10:06 p.m., one minute af­ter the shoot­ing be­gan, as he sits in the pas­sen­ger seat of a pa­trol car.

He and Lif had just be­gun their shift and were head­ing to­ward the Man­dalay Bay area to look for some rob­bery sus­pects. When the shoot­ing call comes in on the ra­dio, Lif whips the car around and be­gins driv­ing on Trop­i­cana Av­enue to­ward the fes­ti­val grounds.

“Keep your eye out,” Wit­twer warns Lif as they drive closer to the scene. “Peo­ple are run­ning.”

When they park and exit the car, what sounds like gun­shots can be heard over­head, and the pair is al­most im­me­di­ately ap­proached by two men — one of whom has been shot.

The man ex­plains that it’s just a ric­o­chet wound and says he’s an EMT. Lif gives him some­thing to wrap his wound with be­fore they head off to help other flee­ing con­cert­go­ers.

As Wit­twer jogs to­ward a group of of­fi­cers, he trips over what ap­pears to be a curb.

He lets out an ex­ple­tive.

“I popped it. Of course I did,” he mut­ters to him­self.

On Fri­day, Wit­twer said he wasn’t used to run­ning in so much gear. And with all the chaos go­ing on, he wasn’t even look­ing at the ground.

“I hit the step just right, and it broke my leg,” he said.

The video shows Lif help­ing him back to the car, and they briefly dis­cuss go­ing to Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter. They in­stead park near an am­bu­lance setup, which ap­pears to be sta­tioned near the east side of Ko­val Lane.

With the pas­sen­ger door of the pa­trol car propped open, Wit­twer helps give di­rec­tions to con­cert­go­ers.

Lif then comes back to him, try­ing to fig­ure out what to do.

“OK, we’ll stay here,” she says. “You’re use­less, not to be blunt. I’ll han­dle ev­ery­thing out here.”

Some­times, even now, Wit­twer thinks about that. The of­fi­cer, who has ba­sic EMT train­ing, re­mem­bers look­ing at in­jured peo­ple near him who needed med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

“That was the hard­est thing I had to come to: I couldn’t fo­cus on med­i­cally help­ing peo­ple be­cause there were so many peo­ple who needed help and not enough paramedics,” he said. “I think that’s what sticks with me the most is try­ing to deal

Sa­muel Wit­twer

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