70°F
weather icon Clear

Ex-Clark County fire chief discusses Route 91 festival shooting

Retired Clark County Fire Chief Greg Cassell addressed about 150 firefighters and emergency responders from across the country on Monday afternoon, offering advice on how to handle active shooter situations.

Cassell reflected on how local law enforcement handled the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. His main point: No community ever thinks it will happen to them, but it is important to be prepared and to learn from others who have gone through it.

His session, called “Review of the 1 October Mass Shooting,” closed out the first day of a four-day conference, called Firehouse World, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Cassell explained what happened before, during and after the shooting — which left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured — with body camera video and 911 audio. He explained what Las Vegas law enforcement did well and what they could have improved on.

He said one thing they did well was communicate among agencies, something he said has always been a priority in Las Vegas.

“We are not perfect in our relationship, but we are so much further along than the rest of the country in many cases, and it’s because we trust each other, we build those relationships and the end game is the same,” he said. “I don’t care what your badge is or what your patch is or what your job is or what hospital you work at, the end game is the same: people living and surviving when something bad happens.”

He was critical of media coverage of the event and warned those in attendance to have a plan for the release of public information.

Cassell said one of the biggest lessons Las Vegas Valley agencies learned in the Route 91 shooting was that local hospitals have trouble handling an influx of shooting victims without some help. That’s why local law enforcement is working on implementing a hospital area command, which he said would provide hospitals with additional help to triage patients, replenish supplies or even just help clean up.

“We’re going to do our thing on-scene, but behind the scenes we’re going to dispatch an engine company to the four or five closest hospitals and trauma centers to go in there and just meet up with the charge nurse, asking, ‘What can we do for you?’” Cassell said.

He said the hospitals were surprised to hear that law enforcement wanted to send their resources in an event such a mass shooting, but “we were like, ‘Yeah, one team, one fight,’” Cassell said.

The area command idea was floated a little over a year ago by Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Branden Clarkson and Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Jon Klassen in a meeting with the state Assembly Health and Human Services committee.

“We should’ve gone to the area hospitals … as opposed to throwing resources at a crowd running past us,” Klassen said at the meeting, adding that the department was working with hospitals to create a mass casualty incident plan that would allow for emergency responders to help with triage and transport at hospitals.

Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, which was flooded with hundreds of gunshot victims on the night of the shooting, was not immediately available for comment.

Contact Alexis Egeland at aegeland@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexis_egeland on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Las Vegas Strip hotels to honor slain trooper Thursday night - VIDEO
A tribute to honor the life of slain Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Jenkins is scheduled for Thursday night on the Strip. (James Schaeffer and Chase Stevens / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seek help in identifying central valley robbery suspect - VIDEO
(LVMPD)
Police investigate apparent murder-suicide
Las Vegas police investigate an apparent murder-suicide in the 3900 block of Chasing Heart Way on Saturday, March 28, 2020. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Slain NHP trooper escorted by hundreds of police cars to coroner’s office - VIDEO
Law enforcement vehicles escorted Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Benjamin Jenkins’ body as it was driven to the Clark County coroner’s office Friday night. (James Schaeffer and Le'Andre Fox / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police investigating after man found shot on street in Henderson - VIDEO
A 22-year-old man was found shot to death on a residential street in Henderson on Friday afternoon, police said. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada Highway Patrol Fatal Shooting of Trooper - VIDEO
Nevada Highway Patrol press conference on the incident involving a trooper who was shot and killed during a traffic stop Friday morning.
Las Vegas police investigate after man's body found in park - VIDEO
Lt. Ray Spencer briefs the media about a possible homicide at Silverado Ranch Park on Thursday, March 26, 2020. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Clark County sheriff, DA talk about crime during coronavirus crisis - VIDEO
The latest on crime and police response during the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some of the takeaways from Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo and Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. (Renee Summerour and MIchael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Juvenile shot, injured by Las Vegas police in east valley - VIDEO
A Las Vegas police officer shot a juvenile Friday night in the east valley, the Metropolitan Police Department said. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Armed robbery in central Las Vegas - VIDEO
Surveillance video of a March 12, 2020, armed robbery at a business in the 800 block of North Decatur Boulevard (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Man gets 30 years to life in Las Vegas rape and murder - VIDEO
Charles Talley, who was convicted of rape and murder, tried to blame the 2018 death of Kelly Deanne Kazoon, 55, on a seizure as he was sentenced to prison Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seeking woman in connection with armed robbery - VIDEO
(James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Woman was sentenced to life in prison for helping kill a disabled man - VIDEO
On Monday, March 2, District Judge Michelle Leavitt ordered Jennifer Mustachia to serve life behind bars without the possibility of parole for the slaying of 47-year-old Edward Turner inside his east valley home in 2015. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police looking for Sun City robbery suspect - VIDEO
Police are seeking help in identifying a man suspected of robbing a business located on Del Webb Boulevard. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Real estate broker Scott Gragson pleads guilty in fatal DUI case - VIDEO
Real estate broker Scott Gragson pleaded guilty Friday in his fatal DUI case and is expected to spend several years in prison. (James Schaeffer, Michael Quine / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scott Gragson pleads guilty in fatal DUI crash - VIDEO
Las Vegas real estate broker Scott Gragson pleaded guilty Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in his fatal DUI case. He is expected to spend several years in prison. Melissa Newton, a mother of three, was killed in the wreck on May 30, 2019. (James Schaeffer and Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson man sentenced to life for killing young daughter - VIDEO
Justin Bennett, 26, was sentenced to life in prison for beating his 3-year-old daughter to death in 2016, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Las Vegas police investigate after a driver crashes into a wall - VIDEO
Las Vegas police were investigating after a driver crashed into a wall in east Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. The man was suspected of drunken driving and arrested. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Judge dismisses attempted murder case - VIDEO
Prosecutors are asking the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn a judge's decision to dismiss attempted murder and battery charges at the start of a trial this week. District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez dismissed the charges on Tuesday after prosecutors delayed in calling a witness to testify. (Clark County District Court and Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seeking help identifying armed robbery suspect - VIDEO
Police seeking help identifying armed robbery suspect. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fatal shooting at a Las Vegas apartment - VIDEO
A man in his 40s is dead after shooting at a southwest Las Vegas Valley apartment on Tuesday morning, Feb. 25, 2020. (Katelyn Newberg and Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro briefing on officer-involved shooting.
Las Vegas police released body camera footage of an officer-involved shooting Sunday in south Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police handcuff inattentive driver - VIDEO
A motorist who apparently ignored or did not see police vehicles struck a Las Vegas police vehicle while officers were working at the scene of a rollover crash on Washington Avenue near H Street. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Victim forced to testify about the day he was shot
Johnny Brooks sits on the witness stand in shackles, forced to testify about the day he was shot in an attack that left two people dead.
Video shows man stealing money gifts from Las Vegas wedding - VIDEO
A man sneaked into a wedding Saturday in the western Las Vegas Valley and stole most of the monetary gifts, according to the groom’s sister. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family of sucker punch victim speak at parole hearing - VIDEO
Family and friends of Luis Campos, the man who was killed by James Beach in Las Vegas with a single punch in 2017, speak out at a parole hearing for Beach on Feb. 10, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jury spares life of man who fatally shot liquor store clerk - VIDEO
A Las Vegas man must spend the rest of his life in prison for fatally shooting a 24-year-old liquor store clerk during a robbery, jurors decided Friday. (Michael Quine, Nathan Asselin, James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police briefing about Excalibur fire
Las Vegas police say a sexual assault and hotel fire Wednesday morning at the Excalibur are connected. (Alexis Egeland/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guilt lingered for coworker of of slain Lee's Liquor clerk
For more than three years since Matthew Christensen was slain in the back room of a southwest valley Lee’s Discount Liquor store, as the killer awaited trial, his coworker has been haunted by the memory of that night.
Teens burglarize Summerlin home
Dr. Paul Wilkes’ Summerlin home was robbed while his realtor gave a group a tour during an open house on Sunday. The crime was captured on his home surveillance system.
Las Vegas ready to enforce homeless camping ban - VIDEO
Las Vegas police will begin enforcing a controversial camping ban on city streets on Saturday, but officials say they expect to impose the penalties available under the new ordinance only in rare instances. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The car that Tupac was shot in is for sale - VIDEO
The vehicle that legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was riding in when he was shot after a boxing match in Las Vegas is up for auction. The black 1996 BMW 7 Series is listed by Celebrity Cars Las Vegas for $1.75 million. (Angus Kelly/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bayzle Morgan Sentenced To 44 Years To Life - Video
A man with neo-Nazi tattoos on his face who pleaded guilty to killing a 75-year-old woman in her Las Vegas home in 2013 was sentenced Thursday to at least 44 years behind bars.
Body found in vacant lot in Las Vegas ruled a homicide - VIDEO
Las Vegas police homicide detectives investigate what is described as a suspicious death in northeast Las Vegas, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Man injured in Henderson shooting

The shooting was reported just before 2 p.m. on the 800 block of North Major Avenue, near Burkholder Boulevard, Henderson police said.