The worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history took place earlier this month, when gunman Stephen Paddock broke the windows of his hotel room and fired massive amounts of rounds on attendees of a country music festival.
The obvious question here is how Paddock was able to proceed with his plans. Were there really no points in the lead up to the incident when he could have been stopped?
Considering new revelations about the case, there may have been such missed opportunities.
Although the initial account from police was that Jesus Campos, who works as a security guard at the Mandalay Bay hotel where Paddock was staying, was shot after the gunman had already begun firing on the crowd down below, the newest revelation is that he was actually shot before the rampage began.
Not only that, Campos is said to have alerted hotel authorities to the presence of a gunman in the building — and yet, according to the latest available information, it took an armed hotel security team around twenty minutes to reach Paddock’s room, putting them there at about the same time that Las Vegas police arrived. In the intervening time, Paddock had fired on the crowd below through his busted out windows, killing almost 60 people, and then killed himself.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that a spokesperson for the owners of the hotel that Paddock had a room in are now appearing to dispute the police department’s timeline of events — although they did not explain why.
MGM Resorts International spokeswoman Debra DeShong said in a statement as follows:
‘This remains an ongoing investigation with a lot of moving parts. As evidenced by law enforcement briefings over the past week, many facts are still unverified and continue to change as events are under review. We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.’
There are two distinct levels of concern here when it comes to keeping incidents like this from recurring. On the one hand, and no doubt more importantly, increased gun regulations are necessary to keep firearms like those used by Paddock from getting into the hands of similarly minded individuals.
On the other hand, however, if lapses in communication on the hotel’s part allowed for this incident to proceed, then there needs to be accountability.
It’s not clear if the MGM Resorts International spokeswoman was even aware of the police department’s revised timeline of events, or if she was, in fact, aware of it and her denial of its credibility was based out of a desire to cover for lapses on her company’s part.
DeShong added that it “is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time on what remains an open matter for law enforcement,” thus leaving the question open of what exactly it is that her company is disputing.
For now, Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts says that his department’s “focus has been all along finding if there were other unknown subjects and trying to trace [Paddock’s] steps” and not on establishing a timeline.
Featured Image via David Becker / Stringer/ Getty Images