LAS VEGAS – Las Vegas police used explosives to blast into a high-rise hotel suite where a gunman unleashed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history and found him dead, with a cache of assault-style weapons and broken windows that had a view of a concert venue killing field, according to police body-camera videos.
Hours of footage released Wednesday from two officers’ body-worn cameras showed what some of the first officers uncovered when they got to the room but didn’t provide new information about the motive for the rampage.
Police say Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more on Oct. 1 when he unleashed gunfire from his Mandalay Bay suite onto a crowd below before killing himself as authorities closed in.
The videos show officers walking into the casino that was still packed with people playing slot machines and drinking beer – unaware that gunfire had been raining down on an outdoor concert from 32 floors up.
“You need to get everybody out of here,” an officer tells two Mandalay Bay security guards. “There’s a shooter up there. He’s killed multiple people already.”
The video shows officers methodically checking rooms on floors 29, 30 and 31 before getting to Paddock’s room on the 32nd. An officer says, “Breach! Breach! Breach!” before a loud bang and a fire alarm begins to sound.
Inside, Paddock’s body is seen on his back, clad in dark pants and a long-sleeve shirt with a glove on his left hand. A pool of blood stains the carpet near his head as a police SWAT officer walks past.
Officers in the videos mentioned the number of firearms scattered around the room, one saying there were at least 10 high-powered weapons.
“Did he have any scoped weapons over there?” an officer asked. “Oh yeah,” another replied.
Others talked about Paddock “blasting out the window” and pointed to “a whole suitcase full of loaded AK mags,” referring to ammunition magazines for an AK-47 rifle.
Officers are seen looking behind curtains, and one grabbed an assault-style rifle from the ledge of a broken window. An officer told others to watch where they were stepping.
“I don’t know what that is, but there’s a wire there,” the officer said. He then turned toward the room’s door and said, “He put cameras up on the peepholes and all that. That’s what these wires are.”
An officer said the attacker “has an intricate camera system set up … so he knew when officers were coming down the hallway.”
The videos also record officers talking about whether there was evidence of a second shooter and finding Paddock’s driver’s license. Police and the FBI later said they believe the 64-year-old former accountant and high-stakes video poker player acted alone.
The footage does not show what the first officer through the door saw because he didn’t activate his body-worn camera. The disclosure by police lawyers late Tuesday raised questions about whether officers followed department policy.
A police spokeswoman, Carla Alston, said Wednesday that no one in the agency would comment about the videos, whether the first officer followed proper procedure by not turning on his camera or whether he had been disciplined for violating policies.
The department requires officers with body cameras to activate them during calls that lead to interaction with residents and searches.
The newly released videos, totaling 2 1/2 hours, are a sample of hundreds of hours of body-camera recordings and do not provide a complete view of everything police discovered when they entered Paddock’s suite.
The Associated Press and other 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 while Paddock fired for more than 10 minutes.
The police investigation is not finished, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters Tuesday, saying he believed releasing the footage would “further traumatize a wounded community.”
“For that, we apologize,” said the elected head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. “What is seen on those videos in no way changes the facts that we were able to clarify for you shortly after the crime.”
Lombardo referred to a preliminary police report released Jan. 19 that said Paddock meticulously planned the attack, researched police SWAT tactics, rented hotel rooms overlooking outdoor concerts and investigated potential targets in at least four U.S. cities.
Police department lawyers had told a judge it would be time-consuming and costly to comply with the media outlets’ public records requests and said the materials could disclose investigative techniques.
But the Nevada Supreme Court last week upheld a state judge’s ruling that the records must be made public. Lombardo said Tuesday that the department would release more recordings in batches in coming weeks.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter