Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Timeline of the Las Vegas Mass Shooting, Start to SWAT

I, and others, have been puzzled by the time it took to enter the room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Room 135 was where the mass killer set up to attack the Route 91 Harvest Country Music attendees.

The first calls to 911 happened at 10:08 p.m. local time. The police blasted down the door to Room 135 on the 32nd floor about 72 minutes later. 

But what happened in between those times? At what time did the mass murderer stop shooting at people below? Those times are becoming clear.  From
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Gunfire rang out last night just two floors below Chris Bethel’s Mandalay Bay Hotel room. “I could just hear the gun shots. Continuously. Just full automatic,” said Bethel. “There’s explosions going off. It was like, a bomb just went off man. And then there were more gun shots.”
The above statement does not tell us when the mass murderer stopped firing at the people below. We know that he fired for about 10 minutes at the people attending the Route 91 Harvest festival. That festival was 500 yards from his shooting position in the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. He used bumpfire type stocks on two separate rifles to simulate automatic weapons fire. He was firing from two prepared positions. The use of two positions fits well with the pauses between bursts of fire. The first pause was 37 seconds.

An officer on the ground reported gunfire as late as 10:21.  Those last shots could have been the shooting of the hotel security man outside of the mass killer's door.  From
10:19 p.m.: A team of four officers makes their way into the hotel up to the 32nd floor. It's unclear if the shooting is still going on.

10:21 p.m.: An out-of-breath officer yells over the radio: "Gunshot wounds to the chest and head. We need immediate medical!"
At 10:26, an officer reports they found a wounded security guard. This is likely reporting the same gunshot wounds listed above at 10:21.

The police and hotel security responded to the shooter at his room before or at 10:21. At 10:24,  an officer outside of the room gives the room number and the floor number.  He says:
"It's room 135 on the 32nd floor. I need the SWAT."
The gunshots heard by Chris Bethel after the explosion are almost certainly the SWAT Team firing into the room as they enter. From CNN:
High up on the hotel's residential floors, a first responder radioed in: "I'm inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor, I can hear automatic fire coming from one floor ahead... one floor above us."
"Subsequently they approached the room, received gunfire, they backed off and SWAT responded," Lombardo said.
Lombardo confirmed the first responders received gunfire, then backed off.

Clark County Sherriff Joe Lombardo confirms that the mass killer was already dead when SWAT entered the room.  From the
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo says “We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry [into his hotel room]."
We do not know if the Mandalay Bay Hotel security man was with the police when they first approached the room, or not. Was the gunfire referred to by Sheriff Lombardo the shots when the security man was wounded? The security man might have been shot separately. We do not know, but the events had to be close together or part of a continuous event. It would have made sense for a hotel security man to accompany the police during the first confrontation. He would know the layout.

The mass killer was no longer shooting after 10:21. This explains why the SWAT team did not blast down the door until 11:21. The extreme urgency had ended. The shooter had stopped firing on hour earlier. It explains why President Trump complemented the Las Vegas Police. From
“The [Vegas] police department has done such an incredible job,” Trump told reporter, adding, “and we will be talking about gun laws as time goes by.” He did not elaborate and returned to his first theme:

“I do have to say how quickly the police department was able to get in was really very much of a miracle. They’ve done an incredible job.
What happened is becoming clear.

Shortly before or after firing through his hotel door, the mass killer stopped shooting at people below. That happened a little before 10:21.

The mass killer stopped shooting at people below at the same time that he shot at first responders outside his door.

Very likely, that is when he committed suicide. It is a common occurrence in these mass killing events. After the shooting stopped, SWAT took a more careful approach to blasting down the door, which happened about an hour later.

The private security guard deserves our thanks. He may not want the publicity. It appears he was wounded in both the chest and the head. He may not be conscious. He may not have survived. We should find out in the coming days.

He is one of the heroes of this horrific event. As with many mass killings, the killings stop when the killer is confronted with armed resistance. President Trump is correct in praising the Las Vegas Police. They were there either when the security guard was shot, or very shortly afterward.

Many more would probably have been killed or wounded if the security guard and early police responders had not intervened. The SWAT team acted correctly, taking time to secure the scene when no more mass killing was ongoing.

Update from video briefing by Undersheriff Kevin McMahill.

The report has remarkable agreement with what I wrote yesterday.

The mass killer started firing about 10:08. He fired for 9-11 minutes and a dozen or so volleys. He stopped firing at 10:19.

Four officers were working the Mandalay Bay. They formed a team and were approaching the room. A heroic security guard was there, momentarily ahead of the police. Two cameras were in the hallway, one in the room looking out the peephole. The guard was advancing toward room when he was shot. The mass killer shot him through the door. Although wounded, he was able to give details to the police, completing the identification of the room. The shooting stopped, just after the security guard was shot.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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Anonymous said...

Cops only breathe by regulation, independent thinking is not permitted. Every cop car I have seen in recent years is equipped with a rifle in the trunk. I suppose it would be impossible to expect someone to use one of those rifles to draw fire or take out the shooter.

Anonymous said...

way too many un-answered questions abt this incident;
a full and independent inquiry lasting a year or more needs to be held before it is used as a justification for any restrictive gun legislation....