Police release some body-camera videos from Vegas shooting

Police release some body-camera videos from Vegas shooting
The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas police on Wednesday released some officer body-camera video from the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The videos from two officers were expected to show what police found entering a 32nd-floor hotel room where gunman Stephen Paddock unleashed a hail of gunfire into an outdoor concert last fall. The Associated Press is still downloading the footage.

Police and the FBI have said Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more before killing himself as authorities closed in.

The footage will not show what the first officer through the door saw because he didn’t activate his body-worn camera. The disclosure by police lawyers raises questions about whether officers followed department policy.

The newly released videos represent a sample of hundreds of hours of body-camera recordings that don’t answer why Paddock opened fire, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told reporters Tuesday.

Police and the FBI have said they believe Paddock, a 64-year-old former accountant and high-stakes video poker player, acted alone. Aaron Rouse, the FBI agent in charge in Las Vegas, has said a final report on the shooting may not be complete until the anniversary of the shooting, on Oct. 1.

The police investigation is not finished, said Lombardo, the elected head of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He called the preparation and release of the information sought by media outlets in a public records lawsuit a “monumental task” that diverts resources from police work.

“What is seen on those videos in no way changes the facts that we were able to clarify for you shortly after the crime,” Lombardo said.

He referred to a preliminary police report released Jan. 19 that said Paddock meticulously planned the attack, researched police SWAT tactics, rented hotel rooms overlooking outdoor concerts and investigated potential targets in at least four U.S. cities.

Lombardo’s top spokeswoman, Carla Alston, said Wednesday that no one in the agency would comment about whether the first officer through the door followed proper procedure by not turning on his camera or whether he had been disciplined for violating policies.

The department requires officers with body cameras to activate them during calls that lead to interaction with residents and searches.

The Associated Press and other media outlets sued to obtain videos, 911 recordings, evidence logs and interview reports to shed light on the response by public agencies, emergency workers and hotel officials while Paddock fired for more than 10 minutes from upper-floor windows of the Mandalay Bay resort.

Department lawyers told a judge that there were almost 750 hours of body-camera recordings and volumes of 911 audio recordings. They called it time-consuming and costly to comply with the public records requests and said the materials could disclose investigative techniques.

Seven months after the shooting, the Nevada Supreme Court last week upheld a state judge’s ruling that the records must be made public. Lombardo said Tuesday that the department would release more recordings in batches in coming weeks.

“We believe the release of the graphic footage will further traumatize a wounded community. For that, we apologize,” he said.

Lombardo denied that his agency delayed the release of records.

“At no point was the LVMPD trying to be uncooperative with the media or the public,” he said.

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Balsamo reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Michelle Price and Regina Garcia Cano in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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