Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- – I, and others have been puzzled by the time it took to enter the room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Room 135 was where the mass killer set up to attack the Route 91 Harvest Country Music attendees.
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Gunfire rang out last night just two floors below Chris Bethel’s Mandalay Bay Hotel room. “I could just hear the gun shots. Continuously. Just full automatic,” said Bethel. “There’s explosions going off. It was like, a bomb just went off man. And then there were more gun shots.”
The above statement does not tell us when the mass murderer stopped firing at the people below. We know that he fired for about 10 minutes at the people attending the Route 91 Harvest festival. That festival was 500 yards from his shooting position in the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. He used bump fire type stocks on two separate rifles to simulate automatic weapons fire. He was firing from two prepared positions, set up at two separate windows. The use of two positions fits well with the pauses between bursts of fire. The first pause was 37 seconds.
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. The shooter had stopped firing an hour earlier. It explains why President Trump complemented the Las Vegas Police. From deadline.com:
“The [Vegas] police department has done such an incredible job,” Trump told reporter, adding, “and we will be talking about gun laws as time goes by.” He did not elaborate and returned to his first theme:
“I do have to say how quickly the police department was able to get in was really very much of a miracle. They’ve done an incredible job.
What happened is becoming clear.
Shortly before or after firing through his hotel door, the mass killer stopped shooting at people below. That happened a little before 10:21.
His stopping of shooting at people below occurred at almost exactly the same time that he shot at first responders outside his door.
Very likely, that is when he committed suicide. It is a common occurrence in these mass killing events. After the shooting stopped, SWAT took a more careful approach to blasting down the door, which happened about an hour later.
The private security guard deserves our thanks. He may not want the publicity. It appears he was wounded in both the chest and the head. He may not be conscious. He may not have survived. We should find out in the coming days.
He is one of the heroes of this horrific event. As with many mass killings, the killings stop when the killer is confronted with armed resistance. President Trump is correct in praising the Las Vegas Police. They were there either when the security guard was shot, or very shortly afterward.
Many more would probably have been killed or wounded if the security guard and early police responders had not intervened. The SWAT team acted correctly, taking time to secure the scene when no more mass killing was ongoing.
©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.