Las Vegas Metro Police Fired Officer Who Froze During October 1, 2017 Mandalay Bay Massacre

Posted on: July 3, 2019, 06:33h. 

Last updated on: July 11, 2019, 09:27h.

A Las Vegas Metro Police Officer who admitted to being “terrified with fear” and “freezing up” in a corridor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino as a gunman sprayed hundreds of rounds of ammunition on concertgoers from the floor above has been fired, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has learned.

Mandalay Bay shooting
Footage from Hendrex’s bodycam shows the former Metro Police officer holding position on the floor below Stephen Paddock’s suite as shots ring out above his head. (Image: LVMPD)

Officer Cordell Hendrex could have intervened and potentially stopped the attack of October 1, 2017, which lasted ten minutes and left 58 people dead, but remained paralyzed for around four and a half minutes on the floor below.

In his own report of the events of that night, he admitted “hesitating” and “not knowing what to do.”

At 11:20 pm, just over an hour after the firing had stopped, police breached shooter Stephen Paddock’s room with explosives to find the attacker dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Hendrex was not initially sacked. According to media reports, he was still working for Metro police as of June last year. It was almost certainly these reports that hastened his departure from the department he had served since 2008.

According to police union president Steve Grammas, Hendrex was fired in March of this year after an internal affairs investigation was launched in response to footage from Hendrex’s body camera being widely circulated in the media.

Bodycam Video

The footage was acquired only after several media organizations sued for its release, along with other reports and records pertaining to the incident.

Initially without sound, the footage shows Hendrex and his trainee officer Elif Varsin leaving the Mandalay Bay security office with two security guards seconds before the attack began. As the audio kicks in the words “active shooter” can be heard in the background.

When an officer radios in that the shots are coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay, Hendrex, Varsin and the casino security offers make their way to the elevator. It is not known why they get out at the 31st floor.

A full two minutes elapses before Hendrex announces his position over police radio.

“We need to stop the shooter before we have more victims. Does anyone have eyes on the shooter?” asks a voice on the radio.

Hendrex does not respond but begins slowly walking down the corridor.

“Where are you going, sir?” asks one of the security officers.

At this point the attack had apparently ended and Paddock may have already been dead.

Dismissal Unjust: Police Union

Grammas told the Review-Journal Tuesday that, in his view, Hendrex should not have been fired and believes he became a scapegoat only when the media began asking awkward questions.

Everybody talks about how they would respond to these things,” Grammas said. “But no one knows until they are up against that evil.”

“We had plenty of officers doing heroic things, and there were officers who were afraid of the situation but still acted,” he added. “Cordell was up there. He was on that 31st floor. And he had a lot of things to deal with.”

Last month, Broward Sheriff’s Office school resource officer Scott Peterson was arrested on 11 criminal charges relating to his alleged failure to protect schoolchildren caught up in last year’s Parkland shooting in Florida.

Peterson was armed, on-site and wearing a bulletproof vest, but remained outside the building during the rampage.