Body camera footage from officers who entered Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock’s hotel suite during October’s mass shooting will be released Wednesday, as part of a rolling release of material, police say.
Paddock, 64, killed 58 people and injured almost 500 when he opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on October 1. His motive is not yet known.
Video footage, 911 call audio and documents relating to the massacre will be released on a rolling basis starting with the body camera footage from two officers, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters Tuesday.
“I don’t know how this footage will be played in the media, but I want to warn you, if you are a survivor or a family who lost a loved one, you should know the video from this concert is disturbing and graphic,” he said.
Lombardo said he anticipated that the materials would be released on a weekly basis but would not say if the information would be posted on a website or emailed to media.
Court orders release
The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday ruled that LVMPD had to release the body camera footage and 911 call audio from the shooting. The police department had appealed a district court’s earlier ruling that the material be released following applications by media including CNN.
In his briefing Tuesday, Lombardo denied police were trying to be uncooperative. He cited cost, allocation of resources, as well as potential further victimization of those impacted by the shooting as reasons for delaying the release of footage, recordings and documents.
The department was having to reassign detectives from from their “primary responsibility” to go over the reports and footage before they were made public and some personnel would have to endure reliving the incident, he said.
“I want the community to know the release of the videos, 911 and documents will have a significant impact on the victims of this tragedy. We believe the release of the graphic footage will further traumatize a wounded community and for that, we apologize,” he said.
Lombardo advised that no employees will be made available for interviews but said a final comprehensive report on the shooting would be forthcoming.
An LVMPD public information officer said a more detailed release schedule was anticipated to be in-place Wednesday but that the roll-out was expected to take “at the very least months.”
Criticism of police
Police were criticized in the weeks following the shooting when a timeline suggested that there had been a six-minute delay between Paddock shooting a security guard and the gunman opening fire on the crowds below his hotel suite. The timeline raised questions about why police didn’t arrive on the scene sooner.
“In the public space, the word incompetence has been brought forward. And I am absolutely offended with that characterization,” Lombardo said at a news conference October 13.
He said that during the six-minute gap the security guard had in fact been trying to access Paddock’s room and that he had been shot around the same time the gunman started firing on concertgoers.
“So there is no conspiracy between the FBI, between the LVMPD and the MGM. Nobody is attempting to hide anything in reference to this investigation. The dynamics and the size of this investigation requires us to go through voluminous amounts of information in order to draw an accurate picture,” he said then.