Three years after the Las Vegas shooting, countless questions remain about the suspect, the motive, and the response from police. Yet the deadliest mass shooting in modern US History seems to have been all but forgotten…
On today’s edition of ‘Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About This?’ it has been three years since a mass shooting was reported in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. Within hours, we were told that the bullets had been fired from a window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Within days, it was labeled the deadliest mass shooting in modern US History.
Yet, three years later, the FBI claims they still don’t know what the motive was, or why this shooting was carried out to begin with. Even though this is a tragic event that impacted thousands of Americans, leaving dozens dead and hundreds wounded, just three years after it happened, it has all but disappeared from the media.
One of the most glaring hallmarks from the shooting was the ways in which the narrative surrounding it changed in the days and weeks after. One of the biggest things that isn’t talking about is the shooting before the shooting—In the original timeline of the Las Vegas shooting, according to police, suspect Stephen Paddock shot Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos in the leg after he unloaded a volley of bullets into a crowd of 22,000 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
However, police changed their story within days, and they began claiming that Paddock shot Campos at least 6 minutes before he opened fire on the crowd from his window on the 32nd floor. Not only did Paddock shoot Campos, police are claiming he fired at least 200 rounds into the hallway, which should have given law enforcement a clear location for exactly where their target was. This narrative is actually backed up by audio that was released days after the shooting capturing the first shots fired by Paddock, well before he began firing on the crowd.
The revised timeline from the Las Vegas shooting includes the important detail about Paddock firing at least 200 rounds into the hallway and injuring Campos, before opening gunfire out of his hotel room window. When this occurred, there was a nearby employee who reported the scene to police.
Stephen Schuck, a maintenance worker at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, said on Wednesday that he was “checking out a report of a jammed fire door on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay when he heard gunshots and a hotel security guard, who had been shot in the leg, peeked out from an alcove and told him to take cover.”
“As soon as I started to go to a door to my left the rounds started coming down the hallway. I could feel them pass right behind my head,” Schuck said, noting that he told hotel dispatchers to report the shooting to police.
However, even with reports coming in minutes before Paddock opened gunfire from his window, it still took police around 1 hour and 15 minutes to locate and break down the door to Paddock’s hotel room. If they had simply acted on the first report from Schuck, there is a good chance that the massacre that was launched from Paddock’s window could have been prevented.
Then in November 2017, during an interview on Fox News with Tucker Carlson, an attorney for the victims revealed that not only did police officers respond to Campos after he was shot, they were right outside of Paddock’s door before he began shooting out of his hotel room window.
“As of yesterday it was that two—we knew about Campos—but there were two other police officers from MGM that were on the floor prior to the shooting,” Craig Eiland said.
The conversation came up while Carlson and Eiland were discussing the mysterious circumstances surrounding both Campos’ story and how tightly he has been controlled by MGM Grand.
“Maybe they’re concerned of what he’s going to say. Maybe they’re concerned he’s not going to stick with the MGM story,” Eiland said. “But eventually he will be examined under oath by attorneys in these cases and so it’s going to be important to know the timeline from what he says and from what the other two—now we know that there were two other police officers on the floor with him prior to the shooting—those are all questions that have to be answered and they eventually will be.”
Carlson responded to the revelation by asking, “Just to be clear—not Las Vegas Police Department, but MGM employees acting as security?”
“No. There was a report yesterday that there were two off-duty officers on the floor that responded to Campos prior to the shooting beginning,” Eiland confirmed for the third time.
Eiland also noted that MGM Grand claims to have a “corporate watch center” that trains its employees to report any suspicious activity. So if a guest arrived at Mandalay Bay Hotel with 27 rifles and 5,000 rounds of ammunition stored in 10 bags, why didn’t the employees who helped him, or the cleaning service who visited his room regularly, report suspicious activity? And if they did, why wasn’t it addressed?
“I do think that after 30 days, we ought to be having more information than we have right now. For example, we know bits and pieces. We know that he arrived with 10 bags. We know that two bellmen helped him carry those bags up. Then we find out that those 10 bags had guns in them and 5,000 rounds of ammunition. We know that MGM claims to have a ‘If you see something, say something’ policy—and you’re telling us that nobody saw those guns over a 5-day period? No maid, no housekeeping, no food service ever saw any of the guns? Nobody saw him using power drills in the hallway? Nobody saw him setting up security cameras? These are all things that need to be answered.”
Then in January 2018, court documents were unsealed, giving insight into an email account that was believed to have been used by Paddock. According to the FBI, the Microsoft account “firstname.lastname@example.org” sent a series of messages on July 6, 2017—about three months before the shooting. As NPR reported, while the FBI noted that it is unclear who is behind email@example.com, the email account Paddock was contacting, the information included is significant.
“…[firstname.lastname@example.org] sent an email to email@example.com which read, ‘try an ar before u buy. we have huge selection. located in the las vegas area,’ Later the day, an email was received back from firstname.lastname@example.org to [email@example.com] that read, ‘we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try.’ And lastly, [firstname.lastname@example.org sent an email to email@example.com that read, ‘for a thrill try out bumpfire ar’s with a 100 round magazine.’ Investigators believe these communications may have been related to the eventual attack that occurred at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.”
In the first message, Paddock claimed that the recipient would have the opportunity to try out the weapons before they purchased them. He then wrote “We have huge selection,” indicating that he was not working alone, and he said he was located “in the Las Vegas area.”
While Paddock did live in Mesquite, Nevada, and reports claimed that he was a retired man living with his girlfriend, he made trips to Las Vegas often to gamble, and those who knew him described him as “low key and relaxed, a good guy.” His past included jobs with the IRS and the Department of Defense.
However, the email exchanges released by the FBI indicate that Paddock was presenting himself as some sort of arms dealer, sending an email that said, “for a thrill try out bumpfire ar’s with a 100 round magazine.”
The email address Paddock was contacting responded and said, “we have a wide variety of optics and ammunition to try,” which as the report noted, left investigators wondering if Paddock was sending test emails to another account he owned, or if he was contacting another dealer or a customer.
Federal agents were granted warrants to search Paddock’s Facebook, Instagram and Amazon accounts, along with a locked phone that was found in the hotel room. These details are the first that have been released from Paddock’s online communications, and the documents also include significant details about what the FBI has learned about Paddock’s girlfriend.
Within hours of the time police named Stephen Paddock as the suspect in the shooting, his girlfriend Marilou Danley was also named publicly. Authorities claimed she was visiting family in the Philippines, and they ultimately determined that she was not complicit in the massacre.
In addition to reports claiming that Danley told investigators that her fingerprints may be on some of the bullets stored in Paddock’s home—and they were—the report from NPR also noted that the timeline of Danley’s Facebook account suggests that she knew Paddock was involved in something.
After the first reports of gunfire happened at 10:08 p.m. on Oct. 1, Danley’s Facebook account was set to private at 12:38 a.m. and then deleted entirely at 2:46 a.m. But it was not until 3:30 a.m. that Paddock’s name was publicly released as the suspect in the shooting.
A release of footage from the night by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department in June 2018 revealed that as officers approached the Mandalay Bay Hotel, they were instructed to turn off their body camera. But for one officer who didn’t turn off his body camera, it showed that he was just one floor below the shooter—and chose not to confront him.
After three years, the victims of the Las Vegas shooting deserved to know what really happened—and that’s something everyone should be talking about.