Mandalay Bay hotel room where shooter Stephen Paddock carrier out his attack (courtesy abcnews.go.com)

In last night’s exclusive, we revealed Mandalay Bay’s official policy for shots fired: wait for the police. The hotel knew where the shooter was for six minutes before he opened fire, and did nothing during the ten minutes he rained lead on a crowd of 22 thousand, killing and maiming scores of innocent people. I can understand the reasons behind the policy, both practical (we’re not SWAT) and financial (we don’t have legal immunity like the police do). But . . .

What would you do if you were a member of the Mandalay Bay’s armed security? Would you throw your job away and risk your life to stop or at least interrupt his murderous rampage?

Remember: Stephen Paddock could have had his room wired with explosives, charges that might have torn the hotel apart and caused even a larger death toll if you opened his door.

93 Responses to Question of the Day: If You Were Mandalay Bay Armed Security, Would YOU Have Gone into Stephen Paddock’s Room?

  1. Probably not, I am not a cop and have never served in the military, I have had bullets go by me and it’s weird how quickly you naturally drop down to ground level. I’ve never had someone mag dump an AR at me from X number of feet away, I can only assume a similar reaction would occur where I would drop down and look for something thick and dense to get behind. If you’re a door kicker, with a team, and train all day to confront people like this I’m sure it’s quite the opposite.

  2. I’ll do you one better: If I were a guest at that hotel I would have tried to stop him. The last time I was in Vegas I brought some toys to show my gf’s cousin who lives there. My tavor would have been perfect for clearing that room or even putting rounds through the wall trying to slow him down or stop him. Even if I only had a pistol I would have tried putting rounds through the door or the wall just to keep him busy.

    • Maybe…maybe not…after 200 rounds come through the door and one hits you.
      Maybe the return fire would have distracted him long enough to change his mind.
      Maybe he would have killed himself without firing a shot out the window.
      We’ll never know, though.
      And you might get shot responding to the room…by hotel security or cops…thinking that you are the bad guy.

      • If you shoot through the walls because you heard a loud noise, you ARE the bad guy.

        I suspect Vhyrus is thinking of it as if he would have known what we know now (that there was a mass murder occurring). In reality he’d be a confused tourist with a couple drinks in him just like everybody else.

        • Ooooh! A Pyschic! I love when people know my own thoughts better than I do. Quick, what’s my favorite color? What’s the name of the first girl I kissed?

          You hear gunfire, you come up on a guy bleeding in a hallway, and you hear loud bangs on the other side of a wall. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out what’s going on.

        • We’re talking about the waiting period between the security guard having been shot and LVPD showing up. A security guard with a gun shot is quite a bit more to go on than merely having heard a loud noise. Your response to this question and to other people’s comments should reflect the proper premise.

    • Sure uncle Joe. Just shoot your shotgun through the door.

      The difference between criminal use of a firearm and defensive use is identifying your target. Just because you know there is a shooter in the hotel room doesnt give you license to spray the room with gunfire.

    • I would hope that i had the courage to go in, but we don’t know until the situation presents itself. My vacation gun is a 5 shot .357 LCR so I would not stand much of a chance, but I would find it hard to live with if I did not try to stop the SOB.

      • That’s my feeling. Until age 21 I was certain I was immortal. That amazingly ended the second I ETS’d from RVN. Then I became intensely interested in self-preservation. More recently I feel inclined to dare, if the law is clearly on my side.

        But put all that aside. The Hotels, Casinos, ought to have one well-trained SWAT-type team with very good approach shields, radios, ram, flashbangs, etc. And Nevada ought to enact a law granting them immunity from suit if they meet certain criteria in well-specified situations, including immunity from family-member civil suits. Treat the hotel, in otherwords, like a typical Pennsylvania home, but better equipped. (Well, sure, better equipped than MOST PA dwellings.)

        • In most states, equipping a private security force with anything more than pistols and shotguns requires a variance from the state agency responsible for overseeing security companies.

          That being said, it’s not a bad idea. Each major building should have a private SWAT team of it’s own. It’s not like the casinos are broke, they can afford it. They can also afford to pay for these guys to train on a regular basis so you don’t just get a bunch of dunderheads looking to play Rainbow Six on the casino’s dime. They should have had this sort of setup anyways. Whether it was a nut with some guns in a room, ISIS, or a high-stakes robbery, I’m surprised it took this long for something to go down in Vegas.

  3. Probably not. The hotel’s security guards were/are unarmed, yes? I have been in the military and am a combat veteran, but was never trained how to deal with this situation. Furthermore, I would not have known the layout of that room or what he had in there with him, or what he was really up to. So am I gonna try to kick down that door (probably too solid/well-mounted to do so) without really knowing what’s going on and go in and incur all the legal liability for doing so? Particularly after the occupant had shot at me through the door and me possibly being hit? As I said, probably not.

  4. I wouldn’t go in alone. Also, I would like to have some hard body armor and/or a shield. I can’t run down a hall with a near automatic rifle firing into that hallway, it’s a fatal funnel.

    I wouldn’t think about traps that could cause more death as that isn’t what happens in most cases and it would not matter much because he would use them eventually (seeing that he is a terrorist).

    Maybe I would return fire into the door to draw his attention until backup arrives, that could cause him to take cover or fire at me. I don’t have a M203 to fire at him…

    By the way, Las Vegas SWAT could do what Texas SWAT did when they had a man with a rifle and couldn’t make entry: attach some explosives to a robot and send it in. Although, in this case they didn’t show up in time for such a tactic.

    • My understanding is he was not firing down the hallway but into the hallway from his room, meaning you could get very close to his door in relative safety.

      If he owns the hallway then that changes the calculus quite a bit.

      • Oh ya, those hotel room walls are real effective at stopping rifle rounds. What they needed to do was evacuate the surrounding rooms to make it easier for other guys with rifles.

        • It’s less a matter of hard cover and more of angles. He can’t shoot out the window and cover the hallway from the same point, meaning you can get within 10-20 feet of his door and be safe. Also, not that many people understand that interior walls don’t stop bullets.

      • Could have went up the stairs instead of the elevator. The stairwell is right next to his door. Even if I get close to the door, I have to open it. So, I need that shield.

        • Such a great video. That first cop goes in and everyone else say “Nope. You’re on your own.”

          Then the terrorist rushes out and causes a huge crossfire and they keep blasting away. Amazingly no cops get hurt (that I am aware of).

    • It does seem to me that the sight of 200 bullet holes in the door and a wounded guard is an adequate indication that extreme and fast measures need to be and should be taken. Preparation for such events, though, has to have been in place. No?

      • You still buying that 200 number? Everything else the Sherriff has said is. Ull$hit. Why would that number be accurate??

    • Would you go in, before the shooting ? ? ? (Supposedly the security guard was shot BEFORE the idiot started capping off) Then, NO, I can’t think of a reason for even knocking.

  5. There was a point in my life where I relished the opportunity to do stupid things. If you could get in there and throw his ass out of that window, you’d be a pretty big deal right now. That would probably appeal to my young, stupid self; not now though. Nope.

  6. Let’s see… he’s got what sounds like a full auto rifle. I’ve got a Glock and a ballistic vest. Umm…. nope.

    Sometimes it’s a fine line between courageous and stupid. In this case, such a move would be pure stupid.

    • Some of us don’t have anything better to do, others think they are skilled enough to have a reasonable chance, some are both. I posit that such a choice wouldn’t necessarily be stupid. It is only stupid if you don’t make and effort to understand the risks. Was Alvin York stupid?

        • If it’s stupid and it works it ain’t stupid.

          having said that, and realizing that I am crazy enough that I charge towards trouble rather than run away from it, yes I would absolutely have entered after informing dispatch of the situation.

          doing something immediately is more valuable than doing exactly the right thing tomorrow or in this case an hour.

          Growing up I was taught not to run away from trouble, not to stand idly by when bad things happen. I am trying to teach my children and hopefully someday their children the same thing.

  7. All businesses should be required to be very clear about what their security policies are and police response time so customers can make informed decisions.

    For people in the know, I think we all realize that most security out there relies on individual decision/making during any live scenario and good luck rolling the dice on whether or not they make the right call.

    However, I also would not take any job where I can expect to encounter armed criminals and crazies unless I have some control on what tools and protection I can have to handle the situation.

  8. With the amount of money that casinos handle, they must have some armed guards. But their job is to protect the movement of large amounts of cash, not to kick in doors on guys armed with long-guns. Door-kicking is what cops are for.

    Casinos should review and if necessary (which seems likely) revise their plans for isolating shooters, evacuating guests near the shooter, collecting and collating information on the threat, furnishing that intel to the cops, and getting the right cops to the shooter quickly.

  9. Robert and TTAG, you all ever try to use bump fire resting on a bipod? Not easy. This Paddock was pretty good for an old dude with little firearms training.

    • I don’t think the rifle that’s shown with a bipod most often had a bumpfire stock. In fact it looks like it might have been a .308 with 20 or 30 round mags instead of the 100 rounders that were in other rifles. The one most often seen with a bumpfire stock has a vertical hand grip in the front. I’m looking for people to want those banned when they figure out how they relate to the bumpfire stock.

  10. What I would do depends on what firearms and ammunition I have.

    If I had an AR-15 with at least four, 30-round magazines, I would look for any ability at all to at least return fire through his door. If all I had was a handgun with at least four, 15-round magazines, I would try to provide return fire through the door if decent cover was available. If I only had two magazines for a handgun, I would probably fire half of a magazine through the door just to try and get his attention and save the rest of my ammunition for self-defense if he decides to come through the door guns ablazing.

    Assuming that I also had a master-key and the ability to enter adjacent rooms, I would attempt to launch a substantial object through the drywall into the attacker’s room. This would force the attacker’s attention on the new opening into his room and it might even provide an opportunity for me to see the attacker through the hole and incapacitate him. This approach is far preferable to trying to engage the attacker through a closed door.

    • If you knew where he was firing from and had access to the room above you could break the window and throw things into his window to distract him. Those large buildings are typically built with concrete floors and should provide protection against him firing upwards.(unless he was using large rounds) Better than idly standing by.
      Hard to know what you would do without being there and hard to judge those that were (well, at least the security guards that aren’t trained for dealing with this)

  11. Neither today nor back in the day would I want to walk into the fatal funnel that is a hotel room doorway with a shooter ready and waiting for me. As a hotel security guard without a vest (no good against rifle rounds, anyway) or flash bang grenades, nor explosives to blow the door open in the first place, it’s suicide. I wouldn’t do it.

    In that window of time, nobody knew the plot was mass murder, though. My thoughts would have been that it’s some kind of drug activity that got discovered/interrupted and that that’s why he shot the first guard. (That scenario is basically what just happened yesterday at Texas Tech.) Some kind of one-off drug possession B.S. would not merit my making immediate, and likely futile, entry.

    I would have set up guards at each end of the hallway, in case he came out, and a rifleman ideally with a potential shot into the room through the windows. Meanwhile, I’d evacuate the hotel, starting with that floor, and the line of sight areas like the concert. Then wait for the cavalry.

    That’s my Tuesday-of-the-following-week quarterbacking on that. Like many of the guys in here, I’ve been through a modest number of dangerous situations, of various kinds. Not enough of them to make so much as a compelling short story, let alone a movie, but enough nevertheless to know how I handle stress when it matters most.

  12. Entering would not do anyone any good. The question leaves open the possibility of not being shot first or after being shot. Also, would the security guard know he was shooting at people outside.
    For the sake of of contributing, let’s say I didn’t get shot and I knew it was in that room and knew he was shooting at people, no I wouldn’t enter but I would start shooting at the door and attempt to redirect the shooter towards myself instead of shooting at people outside. This would provide time for people to escape and for LE to get there.
    Of course, having only a sidearm would almost be a suicide, but dying in defense of many other people isn’t a bad way to go.

    • I agree, and said as much below. Even if chances of what most people call success are slim, distraction is worth something, as is one life for many.

  13. If armed Mandalay Bay security cannot secure a hotel room what is the point of Mandalay Bay hotel security? This is like a being a mechanic who can’t replace a car battery, or a pilot who can’t land a plane levels of uselessness.

    • I’d say Mandalay Bay security securing a room from normal criminal activity and securing a room with an armed shooter with what to them sounds like an automatic rifle are two different things

    • I don’t know much about Vegas, but I think it is obvious that they have armed security for the same reason banks do. Because that’s where the money is.

      Actually, it didn’t occur to me until now, that in a severe hotel room incident, they probably only send a fraction of the available armed security, and keep many behind to guard the cash. Don’t want to get tricked by a diversion.

  14. Nope.

    We had a similar discussion here some weeks or months ago when the question (or one like it) was asked, “Would you intervene in a domestic dispute because you were armed”, or, something like that.

    I said no then and I’d say no now.

    I’m ex-military, infantry. In combat alongside my brothers there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to keep them safe. But I probably wouldn’t face a courtroom for doing it.

    In the civilian world and despite my predilection for stepping forward instead of standing still (or even worse running) I’d only react if it was myself or my own.

    Doing the right thing in combat is viewed by most as, well, the right thing and it’s a black and white issue. In the civilian world it’s nothing like that at all.

    • In regards to the domestic dispute I sometimes wished I had said no years ago. I was driving and I noticed 2 men beating the crap out of a woman. I stopped the vehicle I was in that had my best friend and our dates/girlfriends. I confronted the 2 men thinking my buddy was backing me. Nope. I stopped the woman from being beaten any more but got my ass handed to me by these two punks. This was back before CC was legal in Illinois. The lady was “unthankful” because she kept telling me it was going to be worse for her later. My best friend said he didn’t want to intervene because he didn’t want anything to happen to the girls in the car. I lost him as a friend. What was even crazier was the girls in our car were pissed at me. They said that you shouldn’t have intervened because the other woman was probably getting what she deserved. I lost their numbers quickly.

  15. I would like to think so. People are getting killed, fuck my job. To be fair, you would need something like a flash bang. Or maybe the mist from a fire extinguisher or a water from a hose. Gotta be something on the floor to create a diversion.

    If security cannot do something besides wait for 6 minutes, they are worthless.

  16. I think that depends on how my success or failure will be treated. If Mandalay says they’ll fire anyone who confronts an active shooter, then even in success I’ll be punished.

  17. “The hotel knew where the shooter was for six minutes before he opened fire,”

    How many people in the employ of the hotel knew that? 1? 10? 100?
    Jesus Campos knew, but did he tell, was he able to tell, anybody about it before those two cops met him on the 32nd floor?

  18. That depends on what you mean by “armed security”.
    If you are talking about suit and tie with a pistol under my sport jacket “armed security” then no I would not. If you are talking about properly trained and equipped to deal with this kind of threat “armed security” then yes I would.

  19. No, I would not. I’m not a LEO or military anymore. I wouldn’t breach a room or blind fire into a room when I have no idea what the situation is inside. It’s good way to hit a hostage if they exist or cause the shooter to shoot to the left and right of his room striking people through walls. For me I’d start banging on doors and trying to get people out or at least to seek cover while making sure the police know exactly what the situation is. If the shooter exits the room and I have a shot I’ll take it but unless I have no choice I’m not going to engage.

  20. I certainly would retreated a ways, then gotten a call out to 911 and told LEO’s exactly what floor and exactly what room he was in. Then I would have started quietly clearing guests from the rest of the floor, gotten other hotel security to start clearing floors above/below him, ASAP, as quietly as possible. As a hotel security guard, I’m sure I would have had a pass key that would have allowed me to open up room doorlocks immediately. I would have used do not disturb doorknob hangers to indicate which rooms had been cleared before the LEO’s got there.

    Another tactic for the upper/lower floors is to call into the security office, and then they get on the phone system, dialing rooms around the shooter, giving people instructions to leave, quietly, NOW.

    If the LV hotels don’t allow their security staff to have pass keys that will open any door in the joint – then they’re dumbasses, and partly culpable for and loss of life in adjacent rooms.

    There was much necessary and useful work that needed done long before they could consider just opening the door and walking in on who-knows-what.

  21. I’d march right down the hall until he fired 200 rounds through the door. I would soil myself and run the other way. Screw that!

    • Hotel deadbolts can usually be overcome, but the little security bar thing that only opens the door a crack cannot be easily defeated from the outside.

      • That is absolutely not true.

        True Story: A few years ago, I was in Disney World, and I got locked on my room’s balcony (dont ask). I had also secured every lock on the room’s door so I had no idea how maintenance was gonna come rescue me. They opened the door and deadbolt with masters, but then hit that security bar. They closed the door almost completely, and then slid an envelope thru and flipped it open. Took less then a minute, and they wouldnt show me how to do it when I asked. I’m sure it’s on youtube though

  22. I don’t know. I’m old and gray too. Bottom line I wouldn’t be in Vegas. Where I live and involving innocents-YES.

  23. If I were armed security at Mandalay Bay, I would assume a few things first:
    – I’m trained w/ the firearm I’m carrying
    – I’m trained in CQC
    – I’m trained in engaging a shooter
    – I know the layout of the rooms (or can get the plans very quickly)
    – I have a master key

    Now, after being shot at (and hit) through the door, I certainly would have backed up out of harms way 1st. Then I would have relayed this information to whoever is on the other side of the comms I’m wearing. By then I should have gotten the info who and how many occupy the suite, while the shooter started engaging his target. From there it’s guesswork at best — if I spotted the camera, I may try to take it out and, depending on what I hear and what is relayed via comms, may decide to engage while he’s busy shooting. 50/50 odds of success or death IMO.

    As just a guest — hell no.

  24. Imagine Campos’ radio call. (Assuming he made one right after being shot.) “I’ve been shot at with 100+ rounds of automatic rifle fire, and I’m hit. Send armed security.” I’ve got a Glock 19 with one extra mag. I’m sure I’d wade in like John Wayne (the movie star).

    This might be a case where the otherwise stupid bump-fire stock was actually pretty smart. They don’t call it suppressing fire for nothing.

  25. I’ve seen stats of 3-to-1 needed to overcome a barricaded opponent, which is why you hold up in your safe room instead of trying to clear your house (assuming you don’t have to go gather a loved one). Unless the hotel has an armed entry team, solo security officers are just going to add to the body count.

  26. I don’t know. I would like to think I would because I know when a article shooter encounters meaningful active resistance they typically turn their own gun on themselves because the fantasy is over. I sure as hell would have made sure the cops knew which room it was. As a retired LEO I would have used my active shooter training and deployed with my AR and gone for the kill. The notion of waiting for SWAT or back up is outdated because seconds save lives.

  27. if I put myself in that guys shoes: while I was being fired on I hope I would draw and return fire at the threat. Even with a bump fire stock and drum mags it would have taken two dumps of 100rd mags: plenty of time to draw and return fire through the door. The reality is that I would have been ducking for cover and scrambling for safety. With knowledge of what was happening I sure like to think I would have done Something! But what would I do: I have no idea- I know I would have come up with something! In ten minutes of shooting! (200rds through a door or walk sure leave lots of holes to peak through to see what was going on after bullets stop flying and are obviously going in the other direction

    I can only imagine what the next 16 or so minutes were like for that guy. Assuming he was stranded in the hallway we have to assume he was shot in a major bone and unable to walk.

    He’s laying there with no idea what is going on: can’t see outside and I have to assume he was not wearing a radio.

    Either way that dude was not a cop, no duty to act once his life was no longer in immediate danger (though you could argue it still was) and acting was a liability and life risk: in sure he wasn’t paid THAT well.

    His job should have been maximum to evacuate nearby rooms, and at minimum pull a fire alarm or get in a nearby room and phone it in. I would hope that even a wounded me could accomplish that!

  28. Nope. Not alone. If it was some joker with a handgun? Yes, absolutely. But not after someone let loose in my direction with what seemed to be an automatic rifle. There is not a lot of cover for rifle fire in a hotel room; this is a situation where you call the professionals. Who knows how armed (and armored) he is.

  29. Anybody shooting at me, I’m shooting back. Period. Why should I assume if they missed they won’t come after me???

  30. This is why I don’t work armed security. 16.50 an hour ain’t enough to go to war on. Not for a Vegas corporation.

  31. “The hotel knew where the shooter was for six minutes before he opened fire, and did nothing during the ten minutes he rained lead on a crowd…”

    You have transcripts of communications to prove this for certain?

    I have seen a lot of information strung together to make a story, after the fact. The security guard knew something, but did he accurately convey that to security and did they understand that, and communicate in to the police?

  32. I would have thought about it. Right up to the point where rounds came through the door before I even got to it. Then I imagine I would have given up on that plan.

  33. Too many factors to evaluate to make a determination.

    Room layout, hall layout, weapon available, level of training, intel from sounds from the room (is he firing NOW?), are the police on their way NOW? (apparently not), do I know how many people are in the room, am I a former Tier 1 fire-eater or a mall cop, etc., ad nauseum.

    Pointless to ask the question without knowing the exact circumstances of both the situation and the person responding.

  34. Of course.

    The second he started another string with an AR out the window he wouldn’t have been watching the door. He would have been prone, juggling a rifle, in a room full of smoke, most likely not wearing sound amplifying hearing protection.

    Also, if he can shoot through walls and doors, so can I. Suppressing fire during a gun swap would have distracted him enough for more people to escape. This guy was not John Wick.

  35. If I had the same gear and legal immunities as cops, sure I’d try to stop bad guys.

    Currently, I have neither of those things, so people are on their own.

  36. I don’t know, I wasn’t there. But my general thought for the type of scenario is, any prevention of loss of life is worth it. If I’m armed and can engage, that’s however many seconds or minutes the bastard doesn’t have to shoot at other people, and maybe I can put an end to it. Do I think I’m a ninja and I’m going to go John Wick on the guy? No, but something is better than nothing, especially when something is shooting back.

  37. I hope that I would, but who knows until a moment of truth comes?

    Even then, one moment might not be the same as another moment. Hemingway was good at writing about such things.

  38. Armed security in Casino’s are placed around the money and are there to stop people from getting to the cash.

    They are not there to protect hotel guests.

  39. If someone is shooting innocents in my presence , I will engage with whatever is at my disposal. He has to reload, that’s your best chance,if you can wait for that. changing clips does take a couple of seconds.
    Even if they didn’t go into the room , if he’s shooting through the door at you, why not shoot back through the door at Him? I don’t understand why they wouldn’t have done that .

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