Las Vegas cop too afraid to enter Paddock’s room still training new officersLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Las Vegas cop too afraid to enter Paddock’s room still training new officers

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer Cordell Hendrex is still a field training officer even though evidence indicated he was less than a minute away from entering the room where mass killer Stephen Paddock starting shooting but chose to wait it out as dozens died.

Hendrex’s, and Officer Elif Varsin’s decision not to enter the room on October 1 was on par with the decision made by the Florida officer who failed to enter the school as children were being slaughtered in February.

In an email sent to the Los Angeles Post-Examiner LVMPD spokesman Officer Larry Hadfield wrote: “Hendrex – Active Tourist Safety Division/Convention Center Area Command/Patrol/FTO. Varsin – Active Tourist Safety Division/Convention Center Area Command/Patrol.”

In his report Hendrex said on October 1 he and Varsin, his day-two trainee, along with armed Mandalay Bay security personnel were on the 31st f loor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel hearing the gunshots of gunman Stephen Paddock emanating from the 32nd floor as Paddock was actively killing and wounding helpless concert attendees at the Route 91 Music Festival.

No action was taken to stop Paddock. How many more lives could have been saved if one of those officers entered the room will never be known.

“Once we were near the end of the hall we heard a volley of automatic rifle fire start,” Hendrex said. The sound of the shots were so very loud and reverberated through the hall like thunder all around and above us. Above us! I could tell that it was coming from the floor above us on 32. I then told everyone to get back and we retreated a few doors down from the end of the hall. I know I hesitated and remember being terrified with fear and I think I froze right there in the middle of the hall for how long I can’t say. I do know that at 2212 hours I got on the radio and told dispatch that I was inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31stfloor and that I could hear the automatic fire coming from the floor above us.”

“I once again hesitated as the shots were still being fired from the 32ndfloor and I remember saying another prayer in my head for God to keep us safe. I did not know what to do next.”

Terrified with fear, froze in the hall for how long he can’t say, hesitated again and did not know what to do next. All the while people were being slaughtered across the street.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo has remained mute on this subject.

What we do know is that Hendrex is still a police officer protecting citizens and still training new police officers.


Never forget 58 people died the night of October 1st and more than 400 others were wounded during Paddock’s gunfire.


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a United States Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 35 years of real-world investigative experience. He has 19 years experience in a hotel and casino environment, 14 of which were in security management positions. In 1986 he was awarded Criminal Investigator of the Year by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. Contact the author.

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