Las Vegas police give disturbing account of storming Stephen Paddock's hotel room
One week after shooter Stephen Paddock executed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history at a Las Vegas country music festival, four first responders are speaking out about what they witnessed that day.
In a new episode of "60 Minutes," Detectives Casey Clarkson and Matthew Donaldson, Officers Joshua Bitsko and Dave Newton and SWAT team member Levi Hancock described the harrowing scene they encountered after storming Paddock's 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay hotel room on October 2.
Officer Bitsko told host Bill Whitaker that when they first arrived on the scene, conflicting reports had them believing the gunman was not acting alone.
"We're told that security is taking fire from a suspect on the 29th floor," he said. "And that we had other officers that were identifying the suspect was in a room on the 32nd floor. So we're thinking multiple shooters at this point."
Here's what we know about the shooter:
Eventually, the team was able to zero in on room 159 after a hotel-security guard named Jesus Campos reported that he saw about 200 rounds fired into the hallway from behind Paddock's door.
Although Paddock had barricaded the stairwell door "with a piece of metal and some screws," responders were able to use a "pry bar" to force the door open.
Once they arrived on the 32nd floor, the makeshift SWAT team received a radio call advising them to watch out for booby traps.
"There's a room service cart with wires going on it underneath the door," Officer Newton said. "There was something black on top of the cart. So initially I'm, you know, I'm thinking, "This is a booby-trap. It's -- it's gonna explode."
"I could see the suspect's door was just riddled with bullet holes coming out," he added. "It looked like Swiss cheese."
To gain access to Paddock's room, the team used an explosive to blow the door down, which Newton says set off the hotel fire alarms, adding to the chaotic scene.
Once inside the room, the team witnessed what they could only describe as an "armory."
"So many guns. So many magazines. Stacks and stacks of magazines everywhere," Officer Newton described. "Just in suitcases all neatly stacked against pillars, around the room, all stacked up, rifles placed all throughout. All kinds of monitors and electrical equipment he had in there. It just looked like almost a gun store.
"Shell casings all over the floor. I could smell the-- gun powder that-- that had went off in the room," Officer Bitsko added. "We were trippin' over guns. Trippin' over long guns inside. There was so many."
The team also encountered one downed white male who was bleeding from the face. He was later identified as shooter Stephen Paddock.
"I didn't see any apparent wounds to his head. But I did see a lotta blood that had come outta his mouth," said Officer Newton.
"There was-- a bloody revolver I think-- nearby. Nearby him that was on the ground consistent with him shootin' himself," added Officer Bitsko.
Along with an arsenal of weaponry and Paddock's body, the team also encountered a few phones, laptops, a couple of drills and a variety of other tools.
Contrary to reports that Paddock may have planned to escape, the first responders believe that, based on what they found in his room, the shooter did not intend to leave the Mandalay Bay hotel alive.
"From what I saw, it– I thought he was gonna– he– his plan might have been to shoot it out with us," Officer Newton said. "Because there was a rifle on a bipod near the door and just the amount of ammunition and weapons he had. He could of held us off for hours."
"But at least if he was shooting at us, he wasn't shooting at ... all the victims down there at the concert," Officer Bitsko added.
You can read the entire transcript of the interview here.
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