Las Vegas Sun

July 17, 2019

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Metro pans ‘egregious mistake’ after video release

On Wednesday, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo begrudgingly released body-camera footage from officers responding to the Oct. 1 mass shooting on the Strip.

It took a lawsuit and court order for Metro Police to begin releasing the video, 911 tapes and other material, with Lombardo warning of the pitfalls of making it public.

A mistake in a Las Vegas Review-Journal story underscores the “grave concerns about a premature release of these videos and documents prior to our final report accompanying them for context,” Metro said in a statement Thursday.

The story misidentified a SWAT team member as an officer whose gun accidentally discharged in the shooter’s room at a Strip hotel, police said. In the case of an accidental discharge, it is not Metro’s policy to release the name of the officer because it is considered a personnel matter.

“Egregious mistakes like these are unacceptable,” the statement said. “In the fervor to find a new angle on the 1 October shooting, the cavalier mention of a man’s name and reputation was done out of a rush to judgment, without solid reporting.”

The video released Wednesday showed officers forcing their way into the hotel room where gunman Stephen Paddock broke a window and opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers below, leaving 58 people dead and more than 800 injured. Paddock was found dead inside, police said.

Furthermore, the statement said, “What is missed here is that officers who responded on that evening did so bravely. Yesterday’s video was evidence of how calmly and professionally our officers acted while not knowing what was on the other side of that door.”

Hours after Metro released its statement, the publication updated its online story and issued a correction.