Hotel says Vegas rampage began 40 seconds after guard reported being shot, disputing police claims of delay
Mandalay Bay owners push back against police account of a six-minute gap between gunman Stephen Paddock wounding hotel guard and opening fire on crowd
The company that runs the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino has disputed the timeline offered by Las Vegas police for the October1 mass shooting at the hotel, suggesting Thursday that very little time had elapsed between when gunman Stephen Paddock shot a hotel security guard and when he started firing on a concert crowd outside.
The police timeline indicates that six minutes elapsed after security guard Jesus Campos was shot outside Paddock’s hotel room door before Paddock fired his first shots at the crowd, but MGM Resorts International managers say they are “now confident” that the timeline is “not accurate.”
“We know that shots were being fired at the festival lot at the same time as, or within 40 seconds after, the time Jesus Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio,” the company, which owns Mandalay Bay, said in a statement.
One crucial element missing from the hotel’s statement: what time Campos was shot, as opposed to what time he reported being shot.
The statement confirms that Campos, who was wounded in a leg after Paddock fired an estimated 200 bullets through his hotel room door, may have reported a gunman in the hotel sometime before the massacre began at 10.05pm. It continues to raise questions about why it took police at least 12 minutes to reach the gunman’s floor when armed security and Las Vegas police were already in the building.
Pressure has mounted on Mandalay Bay to comment in recent days after Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday that the gunman shot Campos in the leg in the 32nd-floor hallway at 9.59pm, a full six minutes before the massacre began.
An assistant sheriff told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that Campos called in the shooting before Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, started firing out his windows at the 21,000 people attending the Route 91 Harvest country music festival across the street.
MGM’s statement Thursday said company managers now believed the 9.59pm time given for Campos’ shooting was not accurate. They said an erroneous report was given to investigators by Mandalay Bay “without the benefit of information we now have.”
The company did not give a new estimate of when Campos was shot, and instead said Campos called in the shooting “at the same time as” or “within 40 seconds” of Paddock firing on the crowd, where 58 victims were killed and nearly 500 injured during Paddock’s 10-minute shooting rampage.
Las Vegas police were already in the hotel casino responding to another call, and they were “together with armed Mandalay Bay security officers in the building when Campos reported that shots were fired over the radio,” the company’s statement said. Then, “these Metro officers and armed Mandalay Bay security officers immediately responded to the 32nd floor.”
That account seems to conflict with previous police statements and radio transmissions, which said that officers searched different floors before locating Paddock on the 32nd floor. Lombardo also previously said officers were surprised to discover that a security guard had been shot when they finally arrived on the 32nd floor at 10.17pm – too late to stop Paddock, who had ceased firing at 10.15pm.
Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the hotel’s timeline. Officials have previously said that an updated timeline would be released Friday.