Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2018

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Video shows police response, fleeing crowd at Strip attack

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John Locher / Associated Press

Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.

Updated Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | 10 p.m.

Traffic surveillance video from the Las Vegas Strip and aerial images provided Wednesday by police offered unique overviews but little new information about the deadliest mass shooting in the nation's modern history.

The records, released by Las Vegas police under court orders, included six hours of footage from a fixed-wing airplane and some 41 hours of street scenes from two traffic cameras that began 15 hours before the Oct. 1 shooting and ended 36 hours later.

A quick-scan review showed silent images of police cars streaming past colorful neon-lit casino facades after reports of the shooting that left 58 people dead and hundreds injured.

The footage shows people gesturing toward ambulances departing the scene. Shadows can be seen of people running across a pedestrian bridge and clutching each other as they emerge from darkness and pass a camera.

Some of the traffic video is time-stamped when shots were being fired from the high-rise Mandalay Bay resort into an open-air concert crowd. However, no flashes of gunfire are apparent from the camera site about a block from the hotel and Route 91 Harvest Festival venue.

Video from the next morning shows a broken 32nd-floor window — like a missing tooth of the gold-window hotel facade.

Aerial video also shows the side of the hotel where the shooter fired for about 10 minutes, and it includes eerie infrared eye-in-the-sky footage of police surveying apartments and parking lots in the area.

After daylight, traffic returns to near-normal on the street and investigators wearing yellow jackets are seen from above inspecting debris around the grandstands, VIP area and green field where 22,000 people left cellphones, beverage cups, chairs and shoes to flee the barrage of bullets from rapid-fire assault-style weapons.

The material released Wednesday, nearly eight months after the massacre, was the fourth batch of public records made public without comment by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo or his department.

Lombardo has warned that releasing the records would "further traumatize a wounded community."

Police and the FBI have said they don't know a motive for the attack but determined the shooter acted alone and the shooting had no link to international terrorism.

Media including The Associated Press sued to force police to release the records that include officers' body-camera video, dispatch logs, witness accounts and officer reports.

Department lawyers opposed releasing the information, calling it costly and time-consuming to redact and saying documents could disclose investigative techniques.

Authorities say Stephen Paddock, 64, a real estate investor and high-stakes gambler, amassed an arsenal of nearly two dozen assault-style rifles and numerous high-capacity ammunition magazines in the hotel suite where he broke the windows and opened fire on the concert crowd.

On May 2, police made public several hours of video including footage from two officers' body cameras showing police blasting through the door of the room where authorities say Paddock killed himself before officers arrived. Paddock is seen dead on the floor.

Two weeks later, the department released 1,200 pages of police reports containing witness statements and officer accounts, including statements by at least two people who said a person they believed to be Paddock ranted in the days prior to the attack about the federal government and gun control.

The claims by those people and others could not be verified because the names of witnesses were blacked out.

The release last week of about 2,100 pages of police reports, witness statements and dispatch logs provided more detail about the chaos, confusion and heroism as the concert venue became a killing field. The records also provided information about how officers and hotel security responded.

Some reports described officers racing from casino to casino while debunking reports of multiple shooters and bomb threats. Other officers put themselves in harm's way to protect wounded and fleeing concert-goers.