Las Vegas police have faced new questions over their response to last week’s deadly mass shooting, after releasing a revised chronology in which the gunman shot a security officer before, not after, opening fire from his high-rise hotel window.
The updated timeline for the bloodiest case of gun violence in recent US history raised new uncertainty over why Stephen Paddock ceased firing on concertgoers once he began, and whether hotel security and police coordinated as well as first believed.
Aden Ocampo-Gomez, spokesman for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, declined to comment on the revised chronology, saying the agency would discuss the implications later.
Paddock, 64, killed 58 people and injured hundreds in a hail of bullets from his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, overlooking a music festival, and then shot himself to death before the police could storm his room.
Nine days later, his motive remains a mystery.
Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, who oversees the police department, on Monday said Paddock shot a hotel security guard six minutes before beginning to fire on the crowd. By coincidence, the security officer, Jesus Campos, had been sent to check an open-door alarm on the same floor.
Officials initially said Paddock began raining gunfire onto the concert first, then stopped shooting after strafing the 32nd-floor hallway through the doorway of his room, when Campos was apparently detected via security cameras the gunman had set up outside his suite.
Earlier, the police accounts said a wounded Campos helped direct police to the room occupied by Paddock, who had quit firing on concertgoers by then. Lombardo originally said police officers reached the 32nd floor within 12 minutes of the first reports of the attack. That sequence of events was changed in Monday’s new timeline issued by Lombardo.
“What we have learned is (the security guard) was encountered by the suspect prior to his shooting to the outside world,” Lombardo said.
Lombardo did not address whether the mass shooting could have been prevented.