Las Vegas S.W.A.T. was ordered not to respond to Mandalay BayLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Las Vegas S.W.A.T. was ordered not to respond to Mandalay Bay

LAS VEGAS— The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was ordered not to directly respond to the Mandalay Bay Hotel the night of the October 1 massacre, according to law enforcement sources who spoke to the Baltimore Post-Examiner.

The LVMPD has been criticized about why entry into gunman Stephen Paddock’s suite was not made until one hour and five minutes after the last shots were fired. According to the most current timeline given by the police, the last shots were fired at 10:15 p.m.  Entry was made into the suite at 11:20 p.m.

According to the information provided to the Los Angeles Post-Examiner, which was also confirmed on Wednesday in documents that were released by the LVMPD, the SWAT team was ordered by the SWAT commander to stage at the South Central Area Command (SCAC) and not to directly respond to the Mandalay Bay Hotel, where Paddock had fired from his 32ndfloor suite.

To note, some SWAT officers for reasons unknown did not respond to the SCAC but headed to the Mandalay Bay directly.

The SCAC is approximately one-half mile south of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard.

The LVMPD SWAT team consists of two 20-man teams designated the blue team and the red team. According to the reports that were released both the red and blue team responded that night.

Synopsis from several of the SWAT officer’s reports

On October 1, 2017, at approximately 2214 hours the SWAT/CNT [Crisis Negotiation Team] notification system was activated directing all personnel assigned to the teams to report to the South Central Area Command (SCAC) – Command Post (CP).  

Was training at the LVMPD Range, along with other members of the Blue SWAT Team.  We received a notification of a possible active shooter at the Mandalay Bay with multiple victims. I proceeded to the hangar to pick up mobile armor.  We both loaded into the Bear Armored vehicle and headed to the Mandalay Bay. While en route to the call, we received Intel of possible multiple shooters, so the decision was made by the SWAT Commander to stage at SCAC and formulate a plan.  Once arrived at the area command, along with other SWAT and SAR members, made a strike team and headed down range towards the Mandalay Bay. 

After receiving a text message from my supervisor and the communicator I started en-route to the Mandalay Bay. Once I arrived to the area I heard reports of another active shooter at New York New York casino.  I advised CP over the air on SWAT 1 that I was making entry to New York New York casino. I made contact with a few patrol officers and made entry. It was quickly realized that we didn’t have another shooter here. Moved on foot from Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd. to Mandalay Bay casino. 

Operating as Zebra 15 got notified to respond to an active shooter at the Mandalay Bay. While en route I got notified on SWAT 1 to respond to SCAC.  At SCAC we deployed in several five men active shooter teams to Mandalay Bay. 

I was notified there was an active shooter at the Mandalay Bay. Due to being close to the SWAT hangar and the possible need for an armored vehicle to be able to approach the Mandalay Bay under gun fire, along with the possible need for down officer recues, I went to the SWAT hangar and retrieved a bear cat. I then responded to the scene. I was told to respond to SCAC where I was assigned to an active shooter response team.  My team responded to the Mandalay Bay.

Operating as Zebra 27 when I received a text message that there was an active shooter at Mandalay Bay. While en route to the scene I was advised over SWAT 1 to respond to the command post, set up at SCAC, due to there being multiple assailants. Upon arrival, I immediately dressed out, formed an active shooter element and responded to Mandalay Bay.

Was notified via text that an active shooter incident was taking place at the Mandalay Bay. Were advised over SWAT 1 to stage at SCAC due to the intelligence given that there were multiple shooters and the possibility of multiple locations.  Once arrived at SCAC, I dressed into my entry kit and began moving to towards the Mandalay Bay.

Received a text message that there was an active shooter at the Mandalay Bay and to be en route. I sent a text message out to the snipers about the active shooter and to be en route. While en route, I was on SWAT 1 channel and there was not a lot of information being put out, so I switched over to the CCAC channel. As I pulled up to the Mandalay Bay on the south side I heard that there were possibly two or three shooters in the Mandalay Bay. I quickly got dressed and ran into the Mandalay Bay.

Was off duty when I received a text message from my supervisor stating that there was an active shooter at the Mandalay Bay and that I along with the entire SWAT team was to respond.  Rather than pulling up to Mandalay Bay directly, and into an ambush, a supervisor got on the SWAT 1 radio channel and instructed all SWAT personnel to meet at SCAC to stage and deploy from there.

As the assistant team leader for the LVMPD SWAT blue team received information of a possible active shooter at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  I also received information that the shooter was possibly in an elevated position and that we were to meet at the SCAC.  Once arrived at SCAC we divided the SWAT operators into several active shooter teams.  The teams then started walking northbound to the Mandalay Bay.

After receiving a text message and communicator I started en route.  I was monitoring SWAT 1 channel and had obtained information to arrive and stage at SCAC due to multiple attacks and suspects being reported. 

Received a callout for an active shooter event at Mandalay Bay.  I responded to the designated stage location of the SCAC.

While working as SWAT personnel unit Zebra 31, was assigned to an active shooter event at the Mandalay Bay.  I responded to the staging area of the parking lot of the SCAC.  Teams were quickly assembled amongst SWAT personnel and began to move forward to the Mandalay Bay.

Acting as team leader for the LVMPD SWAT blue team, received information of a possible active shooter at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. I also received information from Lt. Huddler that the shooter was possibly in an elevated position and that we were to meet at the SCAC. I passed this information over the radio on SWAT 1 to the responding SWAT officers.

Was at the LVMPD Range when a text came out stating that there was an active shooter at Mandalay Bay and several people were down. Myself and the officers that were training at the range headed towards the Mandalay Bay. While enroute to the active shooter we were on radio channel SWAT 1 so that we could communicate with each other as we were clearing intersections. While southbound on 1-15 we were notified that there were possibly several shooters and that individuals were seen on the tarmac of McCarran airport. We were also informed that this could possibly be a coordinated attack and to report to SCAC. I arrived at SCAC along with the majority of the SWAT section. From there we formed into strike teams and moved towards the Mandalay Bay.

Law enforcement sources who spoke to the Los Angeles Post-Examiner have questioned the decision that was made that night to not have SWAT officers respond directly to the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the primary threat area.


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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