Over at ammoland.com, Dean Weingarten pieced together the timeline of the Mandalay Bay massacre. Here’s Dean’s account of the killer’s final moments . . .
An officer on the ground reported gunfire as late as 10:21. Those last shots could have been the shooting of the hotel security man outside of the mass killer’s door. From newsweek.com:
10:19 p.m.: A team of four officers makes their way into the hotel up to the 32nd floor. It’s unclear if the shooting is still going on.
10:21 p.m.: An out-of-breath officer yells over the radio: “Gunshot wounds to the chest and head. We need immediate medical!”
At 10:26, a different officer reports they found a wounded security guard. This is likely reporting the same gunshot wounds listed above at 10:21.
The police and hotel security responded to the shooter at his room before or at 10:21. At 10:24, an officer outside of the room gives the room number and the floor number. He says:
“It’s room 135 on the 32nd floor. I need the SWAT.”
The gunshots heard by Chris Bethel after the explosion are almost certainly the SWAT Team firing into the room as they enter. Sheriff Lombardo reports, as noted on CNN:
High up on the hotel’s residential floors, a first responder radioed in: “I’m inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor, I can hear automatic fire coming from one floor ahead… one floor above us.”
“Subsequently they approached the room, received gunfire, they backed off and SWAT responded,” Lombardo said.
Lombardo confirmed the first responders received gunfire, then backed off.
Clark County Sherriff Joe Lombardo confirms that the mass killer was already dead when SWAT entered the room. From the voanews.com:
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo says “We believe the individual killed himself prior to our entry [into his hotel room].”
We do not know if the Mandalay Bay Hotel security man was with the police when they first approached the room, or not. Was the gunfire referred to by Sheriff Lombardo the shots when the security man was wounded? The security man might have been shot separately.
We do not know, but the events had to be close together or part of a continuous event. It would have made sense for a hotel security man to accompany the police during the first confrontation. He would know the layout.
The mass killer was no longer shooting after 10:21. This explains why the SWAT team did not blast down the door until 11:21. The extreme urgency had ended.
I respectfully disagree. The man in the hotel room had shot hundreds of innocent victims. Even though he’d stopped firing, he had the potential to continue, with dozens of human targets still within reach.
Not to mention the fact that Stephen Paddock could have had his entire room wired with explosives. In fact, telegraph.co.uk reports that police found “several pounds of the powder explosive tannerite” in the murderer’s house and “a quantity of ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser that can be used to create a powerful explosive” in his car.
That’s what stopped the SWAT team at the Pulse nightclub from entering sooner: the fear of an IED. Yes but…
As TTAG’s Jon Wayne Taylor wrote after the Florida massacre, “To have a threat identified, and in this case to be in direct visual observation and actively firing at the threat, and then to back off that threat is a tactical error. A big one. I don’t know how to get past that.”
We don’t know if the Las Vegas SWAT team had direct visual contact with Stephen Paddock. But a hotel security guard had engaged the killer (and paid the price).
The LVPD SWAT team’s decision to wait 60 minutes before breaching his hotel room strikes me as an enormous tactical error. While no one apparently lost their life because of the delay, it’s worrying that this is becoming the pattern during mass attacks.