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Las Vegas police clear up details about gunman’s Oct. 1 death

A Las Vegas police sergeant confirmed Wednesday that Oct. 1 gunman Stephen Paddock was dead before any officers breached his Mandalay Bay hotel suite.

“He absolutely killed himself before anyone got into the room,” Sgt. Jerry MacDonald told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The circumstances surrounding Paddock’s death became muddled Tuesday after a judge unsealed nearly 300 pages of police search warrant records from the investigation into the mass shooting, which left 58 concertgoers dead and hundreds wounded.

According to an investigative report released by the Metropolitan Police Department on Jan. 19, Paddock’s 10-minute firing spree ended around 10:18 p.m. on Oct. 1.

At 11:20 p.m., Metro’s strike team entered the room and found the gunman dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo reaffirmed those details in a news conference the day the police report was released.

“The suspect was dead,” he said. “The crime scene was static.”

Later, during the same news conference, the sheriff added: “I believe he – believe the wolf was at the door. He believed we were in close proximity of engaging him and he decided to take his own life.”

But a document that details a search warrant request from 3:02 a.m. on Oct. 2, which was unsealed Tuesday, seemed to contradict that fact, stating that “as SWAT officers breached room 135, they observed Stephen Paddock place a gun to his head and fire one round.”

MacDonald, the sergeant who sought the search warrant and also helped author the preliminary investigative report, said the warrant request was the first he authored after the shooting.

“That night was crazy. You get information coming in. It’s fluid, and none of it is confirmed,” he said. “And that’s par for the course when you’re doing telephonic search warrants. You base those search warrants based on what you believed up to that point.”

MacDonald said it became clear as the investigation unfolded that none of the officers saw the gunman shoot himself, and that he was dead before officers entered the room.

“No one witnessed that act,” MacDonald said.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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