The Las Vegas Police Department has released nearly three hours of footage from the October, 2017 shooting at Mandalay Bay, in which Stephen Paddock, 64, killed 58 and wounded over 500 more.
The footage shows a group of officers as they prepare to enter Stephen Paddock's 32nd floor room, when one shouts "Breach, breach, breach," before a loud explosion can be heard nearby.
The footage is the first peek into the actions of the LVPD on the fateful evening of October 1.
Officers move slowly and quietly out of the 32nd floor stairwell as a fire alarm blares - due to the explosive charge that blew the door of Paddock's room. As one officer rounds a corner, he spots one of the 23 rifles strewn about Paddock's suite.
“On the ground, with a bipod, to the right,” the officer says, describing the weapon.
More photos can be found here.
The first officer to enter the suite, Levi Hancock, did not activate his body camera, so the public will never see those first few seconds inside the room from which Paddock wreaked much of his havoc.
Instead, the footage comes from two K-9 officers — Sgt. Joshua Bitsko and David Newton. Both entered Paddock’s rooms a short time after Hancock. Paddock’s body already had been found on the floor.
Police did not say which videos belonged to which officer. -Las Vegas Review Journal
The videos, released in eight segments - four for each officer, begin with a race to the scene starting at each officer's respective squad car shortly after the shooting began.
In one clip, through an officer’s windshield, the golden glow of Mandalay Bay grows brighter and brighter as he races closer and closer to the scene. In the background, police radio traffic describes the mass shooting scene as it grows progressively more dire.
Once inside the hotel, the officers walk the casino floor, guns drawn. They can be heard directing people to take cover and lock doors.
Keep looking at these people coming out,” one says to another officer. “Watch for weapons. Watch for weapons of the people coming out.” Shortly after, the police in the casino coordinate with the teams before beginning their ascent on a guest elevator to the 28th floor.
No broken windows?
Strangely, officers in the video above can be heard contradicting the official narrative, reports Intellihub.
“We do not have a broken window,” one of the officers named Cory clearly states after making entry into room 32-135.
“Standby, we’ve got curtains open on a window that’s not broken,” another voice can be heard saying in the video as officers frantically pull back the curtains.
“It’s not, it’s not, it’s not [broken] — Corey it’s not,” one officer makes clear.
Additionally, another officer makes a rather odd statement which alludes to the fact that the shooter had merely set something up by the window. -Intellihub
“There is another one [gun] over here by the window he was setting up with,” he stated, as if no shooting took place from the room which may have just been some type of command center to control the air assault via helicopters.
Online conspiracy theorists began focusing on the windows in the aftermath of the attack, suggesting that an inverted photograph of police at the scene of the shooting shows no broken windows - however others have pointed out that the broken windows would not be obvious due to the fact that the dark spots on the building are actually lights inside of rooms. Paddock's darkened suite therefore may not have been visible.
That said, reports of no broken windows are sure to fuel a new round of analysis.
Tense confrontation between police
The released body cam footage reveals that as officers worked to clear floors and evacuate guests, two teams of police confronted each other as one team rounded the hallway of the 29th floor, running into another team of Metro officers with their guns drawn.
“Metro police, Metro police, Metro police!” an officer from the first team shouts. “Police, police, police! Guns down, guns down!”
“Friendly, friendly, friendly,” another officer says, indicating that the group they encountered was in fact made up of other officers.
“OK, it’s friendly, friendly!” another shouts.
“Friendly,” another clarifies.
After the brief moment of tension, an officer from the first team instructs the other team to stay on the 29th floor and finish clearing rooms “so we’re not aiming guns at each other.”
“Copy that!” another says.
Then the first team heads to the 32nd floor. -LVRJ
Following the first breach of Paddock's door, police then set off a second explosion on the connecting door between Paddock's suite and a second room he rented. After the breach, the first officer on the scene, Hancock, fires what police described as a "negligent three-round burst" from his rifle - which can be heard on the body cam footage.
“Where did that other shot come from?” an officer asks. “Was that us?”
As an aside, one of the SWAT officers involved in the breach of Paddock's room was arrested in February on counts of sexually assaulting a child and kidnapping. Bret Thiel, 38, was jailed on four counts each of sex assault against a child under 14, sex assault against a child under 16, six counts of kidnapping, five counts of lewdness against a child under 14, and two counts of child abuse or neglect.
The two-hour police scanner audio feed for the shooting can be heard below:
In March, CCTV footage from the Mandalay Bay of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock finally emerged, showing the gunman who killed 58 people casually gambling, walking around, buying snacks, eating and chatting with staff - reported the New York Times.
The footage spanning several days also shows Paddock checking in and bringing several bags of luggage.
"In the interest of providing greater context around Stephen Paddock's actions in the days leading up to October 1, MGM Resorts has released these security videos and images," MGM Resorts in a statement. "As the security footage demonstrates, Stephen Paddock gave no indication of what he planned to do and his interactions with staff and overall behavior were all normal."
And yet, as we wrote in March, despite the CCTV footage of Paddock "acting normal" before to the shooting, we still don't know what his motive was - a vacuum which several conspiracy theories have filled, including speculation that Paddock was actually an arms dealer in a sale gone wrong. As the theory goes, this might explain the 23 firearms he had in his hotel room. When the deal went sideways - Paddock's buyers killed him, staged his body, and opened fire on the crowd.
Others have noted that Paddock's death certificate - made public in February, indicates his date of death as October 2, the day after the shooting.
As the Baltimore Post Examiner notes:
- Why was Paddock’s autopsy conducted six days after the massacre and not sooner?
- Why didn’t Clark County Coroner, John Fudenberg release Paddock’s autopsy report immediately when ordered by the judge to do so on January 30?
- Why did it take so long to send Paddock’s brain to Stanford University Medical Center since the autopsy was performed on October 6 and SUMC state they did not receive it until November 27?
- How can the coroner’s office make a monumental mistake and list the date of Paddock’s death as for Monday, Oct. 2, 2017 at 12 o’clock noon (1200 hours)?
- Paddock is the worst mass shooter in American history and once again an official report from the authorities involved in the investigation indicates false information.
- Did anybody even proofread the autopsy report at the coroner’s office before it was released or was it thrown together in haste because the coroner believed it would never be made public?
Then again, authorities said that the 64-year-old high-stakes gambler had lost a lot of "significant amount of wealth" since September 2015, and had suffered from "bouts of depression," according to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
Investigators found 23 firearms in Paddock's room - several of which were outfitted with "bump-fire" stocks, a large quantity of ammunition, high capacity magazines, a handgun, a bulletproof vest and a "breathing apparatus" in Paddock's room. 1,600 round of additional ammunition along with 50 pounds of explosives and ammonium nitrate - often used to manufacture explosives, were found in his Hyundai Tucson SUV. Investigators say he planned to survive the assault and escape, and had set up several surveillance cameras in various locations throughout the room, the peep hole of his door, and in the hallway outside.
Primary findings from the LVPD's report:
- Paddock acted alone. Thousands of hours of digital media were reviewed and after all the interviews conducted, no evidence exists to indicate Paddock conspired with or acted in collusion with anybody else. This includes video surveillance, recovered DNA and analysis of cellular phones and computers belonging to Paddock.
- No suicide note or manifesto was found. Of all the evidence collected from rooms 32-135 and 32-134, there was no note or manifesto stating Paddock’s intentions. The only handwritten documentation found in either room was the small note indicating measurements and distances related to the use of rifles.
- There was no evidence of radicalization or ideology to support any theory that Paddock supported or followed any hate groups or any domestic or foreign terrorist organizations. Despite numerous interviews with Paddock’s family, acquaintances and gambling contacts, investigators could not link Paddock to any specific ideology.
- Paddock committed no crimes leading up to the October 1st mass shooting.
- Nothing was found to indicate motive on the part of Paddock or that he acted with anyone else
Upon searching Paddock's Mesquite, NV home, police recovered approximately 18 firearms, more ammonia nitrate, several pounds of the explosive tannerite, several rounds of ammunition, and "electronic devices" - while a "large quantity of ammunition and multiple firearms" were recovered from Paddock's Reno residence.
Paddock also reportedly attempted to buy a large quantity of tracer ammunition in the month prior to the attack, however the dealer he approached did not have any in stock.
As we reported in January, Paddock seemingly emailed himself discussing firearms, as revealed in an unsealed warrant;
"Investigators have been unable to figure out why Stephen Paddock would be exchanging messages related to weapons that were utilized in the attack between two of his email accounts. Conversely, if the Target Account was not controlled by Stephen Paddock, investigators need to determine who was communicating with him about weapons that were used in the attack," according to a warrant.
In an email sent from Paddock's Microsoft Live email account, "firstname.lastname@example.org" to "email@example.com," Paddock wrote "try and ar before u buy. we have huge selection. located in the las vegas area." The "centralpark4804" account wrote back "we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try." Paddock emailed back "for a thrill try out bumpfire ar's with a 100 round magazine.
While breaching Paddock's room at approximately 10:55 pm, an officer accidentally fired one round from his sidearm, reportedly not hitting anyone. Paddock, meanwhile, was found laying awkwardly over a rifle with what investigators reported to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Recordings of the incident do not contain Paddock's final "suicide shot."
Sadly, we appear to be no closer to an answer in the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.