Crime & Justice

Las Vegas shooting: Bodycam footage, police dispatches reveal an evolving response

Police tape blocks off part of Las Vegas Blvd. on Tuesday near the scene of a massacre at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Twelve devices known as bump stocks were found in the gunman's room.
Police tape blocks off part of Las Vegas Blvd. on Tuesday near the scene of a massacre at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Twelve devices known as bump stocks were found in the gunman's room.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Less than 48 hours after the massacre on the Las Vegas Strip that led to the deaths of 59 people including the shooter, details of the attack are coming into focus. And footage from police body cameras offers a new vantage point on the horrific events.

Police say they received the first call that shots had been fired at 10:08 p.m. Sunday night.

The suspect, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, "fired off and on for somewhere between 9 and 11 minutes" in a dozen or so volleys, said Las Vegas Metro Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill at a press conference Tuesday evening.

The shots ended at 10:19 p.m.

"I want you to think about that," McMahill said. "The first minute the police are aware of shots being fired is 10:08, and it stops at 10:19. That's a remarkable response by this police department."

Authorities with the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives said 12 devices called "bump-fire stocks" were found in Paddock's hotel. Audio from the attack suggested that the shots were fired very rapidly, perhaps as fast as 90 shots in 10 seconds. Bump stocks are devices that can be attached to a weapon and allow the shooter to use the power of the recoil to fire more quickly — and on Tuesday, the ATF affirmed their legality.

"The classification of these devices depends on whether they mechanically alter the function of the firearm to fire fully automatic," said Jill Snyder, ATF Special Agent in Charge. "Bump-fire stocks, while simulating automatic fire, do not actually alter the firearm to fire automatically, making them legal under current federal law. It is still being determined which firearms were used in the shooting."

On a screen before reporters, police displayed a compilation of body camera footage from the attack that showed scenes of chaos amid rapid gunfire.

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"Get down, get down, get down!" yells one officer. In another video, an officer instructs people to run. In several frames, the view is obstructed by the officer's clothing or other obstacles but the audio remains dramatic throughout.

Police also confirmed the authenticity of photos showing the interior of Paddock's suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel taken after the attack. The photos were attained by the German publication Bild and published widely on Tuesday. McMahill said the police have opened an internal investigation into the source of the leaked photos.

Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg clarified the number of people who died as a result of the attack: 58. The previously reported number, 59, includes Paddock, whom police believe shot himself.

Amid chaos, police dispatches reveal an evolving response

It took just over an hour.

At about 10:08 p.m. local time Sunday, the first reports of gunfire surfaced on dispatch radio for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. By 11:20 p.m., law enforcement had used explosives to bust down the door of a hotel room in Mandalay Bay, where they would soon report their suspect dead, surrounded by firearms.

In the horrific interval between — and for a confusing time afterward — there were calls for medical help, attempts to protect panicked civilians and conflicting reports of active shooters across the city. The radio dispatches reveal a battered police force struggling to save dozens of victims at the Route 91 Harvest music festival — and at the same time figure out who, exactly, was raining bullets down upon them.

At the same time, the dispatches do not reveal everything. Gaps and unanswered questions beneath the eddy of voices. Even the compilation of body cam footage released Tuesday night provides an incomplete, although dramatic picture. Some of the views are obscured by the darkness, obstacles or even articles of clothing.

What you'll find below is the audio of the Las Vegas police response to Sunday's massacre, as archived and hosted in the creative commons by a service called Broadcastify, which says the recording is unedited. The audio is divided into half-hour chunks, taking the listener from the opening moments to the immediate aftermath.

Below that audio, you'll also find notable quotes from the response as it unfolded, time-stamped by approximation and arranged in the order they were reported.

The opening minutes: 10:02 - 10:32 p.m.

In the first half-hour of the attack, law enforcement came to grips quickly with the enormity of the situation. The search for the source of the gunfire proved more difficult, impeded by conflicting reports and the need to treat the concertgoers hit with the attack.

Even as police progressed toward the suspect, one frustrated officer's statement made plain their difficult choice: "We can't worry about the victims!" he shouted. "We have to stop the shooter before we have more victims!"

Closing in on the suspect: 10:32 - 11:02 p.m.

Here, police move steadily to clear the floors in Mandalay Bay where they believe the attack is coming from, even as there are indications in the audio that the gunfire has stopped. After a flurry of communications, one officer notes he has not heard gunshots for a while.

On Tuesday afternoon, Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters what officers appear to have had trouble discerning in the chaos: Shots were fired for approximately nine minutes.

In this photograph taken the morning after the shooting, drapes billow out of broken windows at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Officials say Stephen Craig Paddock had an unobstructed view to rain gunfire on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival Sunday night.
In this photograph taken the morning after the shooting, drapes billow out of broken windows at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Officials say Stephen Craig Paddock had an unobstructed view to rain gunfire on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival Sunday night.
John Locher/AP

Breaching the room: 11:02 - 11:32 p.m.

It is at this point that the search for the shooter comes to a head. Officers approach the target, then knock down the suspect's room with explosives, calling: "Breach, breach, breach." On the other side of that explosion, officers report "one suspect down" with a cluster of firearms.

At the same time, the channel becomes flooded with reports of shots fired in no fewer than a half-dozen casinos across the Las Vegas Strip. These reports would be knocked down one by one, as strike teams deployed to each location and found no such thing.

'Reports of shots fired': 11:32 p.m. - 12:02 a.m.

As the clock nears and rounds midnight, the officers in the gunman's room begin to turn up clues — including his address and the name of a possible person of interest. Meanwhile, officers across the city struggle to vet and investigate a series of active shooter reports.

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