October 13, 2017 Nearly two weeks after the deadliest shooting attack in modern U.S. history, Las Vegas law enforcement officials remain puzzled about much of the gunman’s life before the shooting massacre. There is also much confusion regarding the timeline of events on the night of the attack—which has been revised three times.
During a press conference on Friday, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said investigators have determined the gunman deliberately aimed his weapons at police as they arrived at the scene as concertgoers were fleeing. Las Vegas authorities declined questions regarding the response by police and hotel officials in the aftermath of the attack.
In a statement released on Thursday, MGM Resorts International said police reports of a gap between initial calls and hotel security’s response were inaccurate. The hotel statement said the police report was compiled “without the benefit of information we now have.”
FBI and Las Vegas Police officials released a new version of events on Friday which corroborates with that of Mandalay Bay officials. Hotel officials disputed reports that six minutes passed between the first shots in the hallway and the start of the concert shooting. Friday’s revised timeline suggests Paddock may have wounded the security guard within 40 seconds of firing into the crowd.
Sheriff Lombardo also responded to critics who questioned his office’s response time and if more could have been done to stop the shooter.
“In the public space, the word incompetent has been brought forward. I am absolutely offended with that characterization.”
Investigators confirmed reports that Paddock shot at distant jet fuel tanks from his 32nd floor suite with special incendiary bullets, likely to cause a diversion or in an effort to increase the death toll.
Earlier in the investigation, a search of Paddock’s car in the hotel parking lot turned up large amounts of bomb making materials. Investigators believe Paddock was planning to escape and turn his car into a bomb. Surveillance cameras set up in the hotel room and hallway indicate he was planning to escape the Mandalay Bay Hotel after the shooting.
In the last year, the United States Department of Homeland Security and FBI have issued alerts warning law enforcement agencies that based on intelligence, the Islamic State or ISIS is plotting to attack stadiums or concert arenas.
In the event of an attack, the true first responder on the scene in most incidents — including the Las Vegas attack is not the traditional first responders, such as fire department medics or law enforcement officers, but an unarmed private security guard.
Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, several pieces of federal legislation to arm security guards has been introduced in Congress but stalled. To date, there are no federal training standards. Each state regulates it private security rules and some states have lax or no regulation at all.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."