weather icon Clear

Officers shared photo of gunman’s body after Las Vegas shooting

Less than an hour after the first strike team entered Stephen Paddock’s suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cellphone photos of the dead gunman.

Police body camera footage released recently under a court order shows a group of officers on a Flamingo Road pedestrian bridge near the Strip looking at a graphic image of Paddock’s body on their phones at about 12:20 a.m. on Oct. 2, 2017.

It’s unclear who took the photo or who sent it to the officers.

Calling it “an internal matter,” Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Sgt. Jeff Clark declined to answer questions about the image or to say whether any officers were disciplined for distributing it.

But according to former Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts, some effort was made to track down the source of the leaked photos, which were taken inside the Mandalay Bay hotel room where Paddock shot himself in the head after murdering 58 people and injuring hundreds of others.

“There’s a department policy that you’re not supposed to send out crime scene photos for personal reasons,” said Roberts, who retired early this year before being elected to the Nevada Assembly and before the internal investigation concluded.

No one disciplined

UNLV criminal justice professor William Sousa declined to discuss this specific case without knowing more about what happened, but he cautioned against assuming something improper was done.

“I think most people would agree that taking pictures (at a crime scene) and texting them out to the masses would be an inappropriate thing to do,” Sousa said. “But one could envision some tactical purpose for doing that. That it happened doesn’t necessarily mean that it was inappropriate.”

In early August, when Metro released its final investigation report on the mass shooting, Sheriff Joe Lombardo said no department personnel had been disciplined as a result of their actions that night.

Apparently that hasn’t changed over the past four months, according to police union president Steve Grammas.

He said that to the best of his knowledge no one represented by the Las Vegas Police Protective Association or the police supervisors union was punished for leaking photos from inside Paddock’s suite on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay.

In body camera footage released by Metro on Nov. 21, an unidentified officer posted on the pedestrian bridge between Bally’s and The Cromwell reacts with surprise when the photo is texted to him. He holds up his phone to the officer wearing the body camera, revealing a picture of Paddock’s bloody head.

The image is not blurred, though Metro has digitally obscured other graphic or sensitive parts of the footage it has released from the Oct. 1 massacre.

The same photo of Paddock also pops up on the smartwatch screen of the officer wearing the body camera. It’s unclear if the other officer just forwarded it to him or if he also received it from the same unknown sender.

“So we didn’t shoot him, he shot himself?” the officer with the body camera asks.

Moments later, he turns to the third officer in their group and asks, “Hey, did you get the picture?” before showing it to him.

The officers’ exchange on the pedestrian bridge also is captured in separate body camera footage that Metro released Wednesday, along with 96 other videos, as part of its ongoing disclosure of records from the mass shooting.

Unidentified officers

The Las Vegas Review-Journal and other media organizations sued for the records in the days after the attack.

This week’s batch of videos marked the 30th court-ordered release since early May.

Metro said it will release another batch next week.

With few exceptions, police officials have declined to identify officers who appear in the videos or discuss what is happening in them.

None of the footage from the pedestrian bridge is clear enough to read the name of the person who texted the photo to the officers. The three men briefly discuss who sent it, but the conversation is inaudible or drowned out by radio traffic and other noise.

About 10 minutes later, a sergeant shows up to update the three officers on what he knows about the mass shooting.

“The guy on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay, he appears to be a lone actor right now,” the unidentified sergeant tells them. “He’s dead. He had a (expletive) ton of guns and opened up on the crowd. We have no other confirmed reports that he had anyone else with him.”

None of the officers mentions the picture of Paddock on their phones or offers to show it to the sergeant.

By the following day, leaked photos from the Mandalay Bay crime scene had found their way to several media outlets, including the Review-Journal.

The newspaper opted not to publish a photo of Paddock’s body that it received because editors deemed it too gruesome and determined it was not newsworthy.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
CCSD police on the arrest of Deamonte Warren - VIDEO
CCSD police arrested Chaparral High School custodian Deamonte Warren on Friday on three counts of a school employee having sex with a student and an additional count of providing alcohol to a minor. (Courtesy CCSD Police)
Woman charged with sex trafficking an 11-year-old girl on the Strip (Michael Quine)
Gigi Mitchell faces seven felony charges including sex trafficking and child abuse for bringing an 11-year-old girl to the Las Vegas Strip to work as a prostitute.
Bel Air Drive Officer Involved Shooting Presser - Video
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly goes over the officer-involved shooting on Bel Air Drive.
Former Las Vegas police officer get 25 life sentences for sexually abusing child
Former Las Vegas Police officer Bret Theil was sentences to 25 consecutive life sentences at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, May 15, 2019, for sexually abusing a child over a decade. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Man pushed off bus in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police arrested 25-year-old Cadesha Bishop on May 6, after she allegedly pushed Serge Fournier, 74, off of a parked bus near Fremont Street and 13th Street about 4:50 p.m. March 21.(Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
$1 million bail set for mother charged with drowning 2-year-old daughter
The 44-year-old mother who police say drowned her 2-year-old daughter in a bathtub in a northeast Las Vegas apartment on Saturday made her first court appearance on Tuesday, May 14th.
Officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child appears in court
Matthew James Terry, a Las Vegas police officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child, appears in court Monday morning, May 13, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seek hit-and-run driver
A motorcycle officer pulled over a Mercedes SUV, and after the officer came to a stop, it shifted into reverse, intentionally hitting the officer.
Thedrick Andres becomes Henderson Police Department acting chief
Henderson Police Department Acting Chief Thedrick Andres speaks about his goals in his new position at the Henderson Police headquarters, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2 dead, 1 wounded after east valley neighborhood shooting
One man and one woman are dead and another man wounded after a shooting Thursday afternoon in an east valley neighborhood.
Bail denied for former police detective charged with murder
Bail was denied Tuesday for former Metropolitan Police Department detective, Pamela Rene Bordeaux who is accused of fatally shooting her daughter’s ex-husband during supervised visitation with his child.
Third suspect in death of California doctor appears in court
The third and final suspect in the killing of a California doctor, Jon Kennison, 27, appears in court Friday, April 19, 2019. Kennison, Kelsey Nichole Turner, a former model, and Diana Pena, face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Richard Cleaves of Pahrump arrested in burglary on former Binion property
Updated press release regarding burglary on a former Binion property: Richard Cleaves, 56 of Pahrump, has been arrested on a warrant for burglary, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, and destruction of property. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Judge denies bail for suspect charged in the killing of California doctor
Diana Pena, one of three people charged in the killing of a California doctor, is being held without bail after her fingerprints were found on the car where Dr. Thomas Burchard's body was discovered.
Ex-NFL player and girlfriend held without bail in child’s death
Former professional football player Cierre Wood and his girlfriend, Amy Taylor, face charges of murder and child abuse in the death of Taylor's 5-year-old daughter. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP identifies man who was shot by trooper on Mount Charleston
Nevada Highway Patrol updates the media on the April 2, 2019 officer involved shooting on Mount Charleston. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas court grants '90 Day Fiancé' defendant continuance
"90 Day Fiance" stars Colt Johnson and his mother Debra left the Las Vegas Justice Center Thursday, after the court granted Larissa dos Santos Lima a continuance in her misdemeanor case, in which she is accused of domestic violence against Colt. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Details released on in-custody death
Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank addresses media about details of an in-custody death at Clark County Detention Center on March 31. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man hurt in shooting with Nevada troopers at Mount Charleston
A man was injured in a shooting involving Nevada Highway Patrol troopers Tuesday afternoon at Mount Charleston on state Route 157 near Echo Trail. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer wounds inmate during escape attempt
An officer fired on an inmate who stole a vehicle and tried to flee, ramming several cars and leading officers on a chase until he ran out of gas.
Man fatally shot during a 'beer skip'
A store clerk is being questioned after a man was fatally shot during a robbery at a gas station Friday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Las Vegas police give details on fatal shooting
Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer gives a briefing on a fatal shooting near downtown Las Vegas that occurred on March 27, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas community pays tribute to boy killed by car
The community joined friends and family at Wilbur & Theresa Faiss Park, Wednesday evening, to remember the boy who was struck and killed by a car crossing South Fort Apache Road from Faiss Park, near West Maule Avenue, on Monday. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Person of Interest Found For Downtown Las Vegas Bar - Video
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is seeking help to find a person of interest in a potential homicide case at a bar in downtown Las Vegas.
Metro briefs media on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Police address media about officer-involved shooting that started on Maryland and Vegas Valley, and concluded downtown, near the Golden Nugget.
Update on OIS at Vegas Valley and Maryland
The incident began at the Steinberg Diagnostic Medical parking lot and ended downtown.
Amy And Spencer Powell Recount Hit And Run
Amy Powell and her son Spencer recount the day Spencer was hit by a truck while riding his bike. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah arrested in Amarillo, TX
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah was arrested in Amarillo, TX on a Nye County warrant for open murder, burglary, obtaining money under false pretense, use of credit card w/o owner consent, and destruction of evidence. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Metro Presser For OIS 6 (Full)
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Metro Presser For OIS 6
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Domestic disturbance call ends in suicide
A man died by suicide after police tried negotiating with him outside of his ex-girlfriend’s home on March 13. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by Las Vegas police
A 20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by a Las Vegas officer on Saturday night is also accused of burglarizing a Boys & Girls Club minutes before the shooting.
Commercial Robbery On 3000 Block Of North Las Vegas Blvd - VIDEO
On February 19th, 2019, at approximately 10:23 am, a robbery occurred to a business located on the 3000 block of North Las Vegas Boulevard. The pictured suspect entered the business, approached the counter and pointed a firearm at the victim demanding money. The victim complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.