Police are under pressure to explain a troubling gap in the Las Vegas shooting timeline

Broken windows near the top of the Mandalay Bay Casino, from which a gunman killed at least 58 people with an automatic weapon. Picture: Getty Images
  • There’s an apparent six-minute gap from when a Mandalay Bay security guard was shot in the hotel to when the Las Vegas shooter opened fire on 22,000 concertgoers.
  • The Mandalay Bay has said that police officials’ timeline of the night could be incorrect.
  • People are turning to conspiracy theories as explanations.

People are pressing police and the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Resort to explain an apparent six-minute gap in the Las Vegas shooting timeline.

On Tuesday, police officials laid out an updated timeline for the Las Vegas shooting. At 9:59 p.m., Stephen Paddock shot security guard Jesus Campos through the door of his room. Campos, who was hit in the leg, notified security. Six minutes later, at 10:05 p.m., Paddock opened fire on 22,000 people attending a music festival. At 10:17 p.m., the first police officers arrived on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.

This timeline leaves 18 minutes from Campos being shot to the first police officers arriving on the scene. During these 18 minutes, Paddock carried out the largest mass shooting in modern US history — he had apparently already fired his last shots when officers arrived on the 32nd floor.

Many see the timeline as strange, especially in a place with as many security officials as the Las Vegas Strip. Why did it take police officers so long to arrive on the scene to stop Paddock?

Here are some of the possible explanations.

The police timeline is wrong

The timeline that places Campos’ call six minutes before Paddock started shooting out the window could simply be flawed.

“We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate,” MGM Resorts spokesperson Debra DeShong said in a statement Tuesday night.

DeShong’s statement continued: “This remains an ongoing investigation with a lot of moving parts. As evidenced by law enforcement briefings over the past week, many facts are still unverified and continue to change as events are under review.”

Joseph Lombardo, the Las Vegas sheriff, gave some credence to this explanation on Wednesday.

“Nobody’s trying to be nefarious, nobody’s trying to hide anything, and what we want to do is draw the most accurate picture we can,” Lombardo said in a television interview Wednesday, the Chicago Tribune reported. “I’m telling you right now, today, that that timeline might change again.”

Confusion or other factors slowed police

According to the Los Angeles Times, “police audio dispatches revealed widespread confusion among officers at the scene, who had not received Campos’ alert and were urgently trying to figure out where the gunfire was coming from.”

Police and armed hotel security officials arrived on the floor at around the same time — roughly 10:17 p.m.

Questions about why this took close to 20 minutes could be used as ammunition by victims suing the Mandalay Bay.

Was the hotel constructed in a manner that made it harder for security officials to get around quickly? Did the Mandalay Bay staff fail to immediately alert the police? Did internal security procedures break down after Campos was shot?

Lombardo, for his part, defended police officers’ efforts.

“No matter what the timeline is, the response was as quick as possible, and I don’t think the response could have been any faster,” Lombardo said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Wacky conspiracy theories gaining steam

Las vegas shooting memorialGetty Images/Drew AngererA makeshift memorial for the victims of Sunday night’s mass shooting stands at an intersection of the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, October 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Mandalay Bay has quickly become a target for conspiracy theorists floating explanations that currently have no basis in fact.

A short list of conspiracies — all of which rely on alleged anonymous sources or pure imagination:

The conspiracy theories — which often plague victims following tragedies — are not relevant in and of themselves. However, they show people seeking answers when, at this point, there simply isn’t one.

“There’s going to be some questions that will never get answered,” Lombardo said Wednesday.

The next press conference by Las Vegas police officials is scheduled for Friday.

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