Las Vegas police cleared up one of the more confusing aspects of the timeline surrounding the October 1 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival, confirming that while Stephen Paddock killed himself, nobody actually witnessed him doing so.
According to Sgt. Jerry MacDonald of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Paddock was already dead when officers found him.
“He absolutely killed himself before anyone got into the room,” MacDonald told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Conflicting Reports Arise in Hectic Aftermath
The confusion over the death of Paddock, the shooter who killed 58 people and injured over 800 others, sprang from conflicting reports in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, some of which suggested his death may have been seen by police officers.
One such report came from a search warrant request that was made in the early morning hours of October 2. That request, unsealed Tuesday, said that when SWAT officers entered Paddock’s room, they saw him “place a gun to his head and fire one round.”
According to MacDonald, who was the officer who requested the search warrant, that detail was one of many that was unclear in the hectic aftermath of the shooting.
“That night was crazy,” MacDonald said. “You get information coming in. It’s fluid, and none of it is confirmed. And that’s par for the course when you’re doing telephonic search warrants. You base those search warrants based on what you believed up to that point.”
It was until later, MacDonald explained, that it became clear that nobody had actually seen the suicide.
That was similar to the way Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo described events at a press conference two weeks ago, held the day after an investigative report was released to the public.
“[Paddock belived] the wolf was at the door,” Lombardo said. “He believed we were in close proximity of engaging him and he decided to take his own life.”
Details Could Have Impact on Lawsuits
This isn’t the first time that there have been questions about specific details of the events of October 1, as well as the timeline on which it happened. In the weeks after the shooting, Metro Police and MGM offered differing timelines as to when Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos first encountered Paddock.
Initially, the police account said that Paddock had shot about 200 rounds of ammunition at Campos minutes before he began firing on the music festival. However, that too many have been due to confusion over specifics: Campos apparently encountered a blocked security door, and only arrived outside Paddock’s room six minutes later. After wounding Campos, Paddock then opened fire on the concert.
These details could be critically important when it comes to the many lawsuits that are being filed against MGM Resorts International and other companies or individuals.
For instance, the timeline discrepancy initially appeared to suggest a delay in reporting gunfire to the police, which may well have been used against MGM in court.