Just one day after MGM Resorts appeared to contradict the latest law enforcement timeline of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo sought to address some questions raised about how events unfolded on the chaotic night of Oct. 1. Lombardo told reporters that the account he offered Monday and the one supplied by the company Thursday are “not in conflict.”
Earlier in the week, he had presented a significant revision to the initial chronology, suggesting that the Mandalay Bay security guard who confronted shooter Stephen Paddock sustained his injuries at 9:59 p.m. local time, or about six minutes before the gunman turned his weapon on the crowd.
But that time “was derived from a Mandalay Bay report manually created after the fact without the benefit of information we now have,” the hotel’s parent company, MGM Resorts, said Thursday. “We are now confident that the time stated in this report is not accurate.”
“I am very well aware of the MGM statement provided yesterday,” Lombardo said at a news conference Friday. “I agree with their statement. I’m not in conflict with their statement.”
Clarifying his comments from several days ago, Lombardo asserted that the guard, Jesus Campos, was not shot at 9:59 — but rather attempted and initially failed to enter the shooter’s floor at that time.
“Through investigation, we have determined that Mr. Campos had encountered the barricaded door adjacent to the suspect’s door at approximately 21:59 [9:59 p.m. in military time],” Lombardo said. “In his attempt to gain entry to the 32nd floor, it required him to ascend to another level and eventually make access to the 32nd floor.”
According to the sheriff, it was at this point that Campos resolved the situation that had originally brought him to the floor — an alarm about another open door — and shortly afterward took gunfire from Paddock. Those shots were fired “in close proximity” to the moment Paddock loosed his volley of bullets on the Route 91 music festival.
“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,” MGM Resorts said in its own statement Thursday.
All of which leaves two of the central questions of the investigation as unanswered — publicly, at least — as they were at the start of the week: Why did Paddock stop firing on the crowd before police arrived on his floor, if it was not because of Campos’ intervention? And what was his motive to begin firing in the first place?
Even as Lombardo’s department and the FBI collaborate on the investigation to determine those answers, he said a couple of details stand quite clear: Of the 546 people injured in the attack, 45 remain hospitalized — some in critical condition.
But “there are some bright spots,” Lombardo said. In an emotional moment, he told of the heroics displayed by his officers that night — and celebrated their sacrifice.
“I don’t want anybody to take offense when I’ve completed my comments today — there’s a thousand heroes out there — but I’m going to bring it home to my department.”