Las Vegas Police Had No Specific Mass-Casualty Response Policy at Time of Mandalay Bay Shooting, Internal Report Shows

Posted on: July 11, 2019, 10:05h. 

Last updated on: July 11, 2019, 11:07h.

Las Vegas Metro Police (LVMPD) did not have a specific policy in place for responding to a mass-casualty incident at the time of the Oct. 1, 2017 Mandalay Bay shooting.

October 1 shooting
Sheriff Joe Lombardo of the LVMPD said Wednesday his department already had implemented 40 percent of the new report’s recommendations. (Image: Patch)

That’s the conclusion of an internal police “after-action review,” which lists 93 recommendations to better guard against future atrocities.

The report acknowledged that while the department had studied the events of Mumbai, Boston, and Columbine, “policies were not sufficiently robust to handle the magnitude of what happened on 1 October.” That occurred despite warnings that Las Vegas was a vulnerable target for terrorism and mass shootings.

‘Textbook’ on Response

It is unclear whether the department has since developed a robust mass-casualty response policy, although Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told the Associated Press Wednesday the department had already implemented 40 percent of the report’s recommendations. He called the report “our textbook on our response.”

Other proposals included securing high-rise buildings that overlook open-air events while training more police marksmen to neutralize threats from elevated positions. Police officers should also be permitted to remove reflective vests so they become less of a target to the shooter, while more paramedics with trauma kits should be present at events with large crowds.

The report comes just weeks after news that Metro officer Cordell Hendrex was fired for his indecision on the night of Oct. 1.

Hendrex had arrived at the Mandalay Bay with a trainee police officer, after responding to an unrelated trespassing call, just before shooter Stephen Paddock began firing on the festival crowd from his suite on the 32nd floor of the hotel.

Hendrix’s bodycam footage shows that, for reasons unclear, once the firing started, he headed to the 31st floor, where he held his position for over four minutes until the firing stopped.

Paddock murdered 58 people and injured hundreds more in an 11-minute killing spree that shocked the world, before turning the gun on himself. His motive remains unclear.

The officer admitted in his report that he was “terrified with fear” and to “freezing up.” He also said he hesitated because he “didn’t know what to do,” perhaps underlining the lack of sufficient police response policy acknowledged in this week’s report.

‘Up Against That Evil’

Police union president Steve Grammas has said Hendrix shouldn’t have been fired and was only dismissed once his bodycam footage began to be circulated by the media, which made him a “scapegoat.”

“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.”