The narrative since last week’s Manadaly Bay mass murder has been that Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd at a country music festival below, then stopped when his room was approached by an unarmed hotel security guard. The security response was reportedly prompted when the gunfire in Paddock’s room tripped a smoke detector. Now, however, the story has changed.
The gunman who attacked a country music concert in Las Vegas shot a security guard in the hotel before beginning his assault on the concertgoers, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Monday, a significant change to the timeline of the massacre that officials had previously given to the public.
That’s a pretty significant change, to be sure. And it leaves an even more significant question. If the guard’s approach happened before Paddock began firing on the crowd, what made him stop shooting and commit suicide when he did?
“Mr. Campos (the security guard) was encountered by the suspect prior to his shooting to the outside world,” Lombardo said at a Monday news conference.
Police officers who started searching the hotel after the shooting began didn’t know a hotel security guard had been shot “until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator,” Lombardo said.
Charles “Sid” Heal, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s commander and tactical expert, said the new timeline “changes the whole perspective of the shooting.”
That’s an understatement. And it won’t do anything to calm the rampant speculation about Paddock’s motive or the burgeoning industry in conspiracy theories that has grown since the shooting, either. The question now is, what other “facts” about the shooting that we knew to be true…aren’t?