Las Vegas police released records on Wednesday that clearly captured the sound of a SWAT officer accidentally firing his rifle inside the Route 91 Harvest festival gunman’s Mandalay Bay suite on Oct. 1.
Officer Sean O’Donnell was trying to adjust his weapon’s rate of fire when the three-round burst went off, police have said. It happened just after a team of officers breached the gunman’s second room.
The body camera video, which was filmed by another officer a few doors down from the gunman’s suite, was one of 27 clips turned over this week.
It marked the 17th court-ordered release since early May of Metropolitan Police Department audio, video or documents from the mass shooting, which left 58 concertgoers dead and hundreds more injured. The new footage varied from between 15 seconds to about 30 minutes in length.
The clip in question begins as a group of officers work to clear several guest rooms on the 32nd floor. The first room they enter is empty, but the bathtub faucet has been left on. The tub nearly overflows before an officer shuts the water off, and the room falls silent.
Radio traffic then indicates that the gunman was found dead in his suite down the hall.
Officers continue to clear rooms, evacuating a guest before they are warned to cover their ears. Seconds later, the breach and three-round burst can be heard.
Emotions running high
All the body camera videos released Wednesday were filmed sometime after the mass shooting ended. But emotions were still running high.
In one clip, as a group of officers walk toward false reports of shots fired inside New York-New York, one man tries to hype the others up.
“Hey, listen up!” he shouts. “Every cop in America wants to be right here right now! We’re the lucky ones!”
In another clip, filmed long after the attack ended, a group of officers stationed at T-Mobile Arena huddle and watch an Instagram video of what appears to show part of the shooting. Gunfire and screaming can be heard in the background.
“They’re just firing down on Route 91, bro,” an officer says. “They just fired down in the crowd.”
A separate clip shows four officers in helmets and tactical gear standing outside the Luxor hours after the shooting.
They talk about the predicament that many tourists on the south Strip faced that night: on foot in a strange city, with no way to go back to their hotel rooms or retrieve their cars from parking garages, and no hope of hailing a cab.
“So what are you going to do? Stand outside on the sidewalk and wait for your phone to run out of batteries?” one of the officers says.
‘They just stopped breathing’
At an intersection near MGM Grand, another video shows a security guard in a dark jacket approach two officers, his arms filled with hats. One is a cream-colored, wide-brimmed cowboy cap. He tells them he was working at the country music festival when the attack began.
“These people didn’t deserve it,” the guard says.
“Did you see the shooting happen?” an officer asks.
Another officer stands by, holding a rifle.
“Yes,” the fuzzy-bearded guard says.
“You saw the shooter and everything?” the officer asks.
“No, no, I just saw the people with the dead bodies at my job,” the guard says. “People trying to run. Just so many innocent people lost their lives. The shooter — it just don’t make no sense. I don’t know what’s going on.”
His eyes stay wide as he continues talking.
“So many people were going back home tomorrow, and man, it just was sad, man,” the guard says. “They’re in the field right now.”
The guard, who was hired by Contemporary Services Corp. for the event, says he and his team tried to save the injured by putting them in their van.
“As soon as they got in the back of the van, they just stopped breathing,” he says. “Who would shoot into a field full of people like that?”
More records expected
Police previously released more than 3,000 pages of witness statements and officer reports, as well as 911 calls and other body camera footage. A Las Vegas Review-Journal examination of those records found that many officers experienced communication problems during the mass shooting response.
The newspaper and other media organizations sued for the records in the days after the shooting. Metro fought their release for months, then began releasing the records in batches of varying size and type after a court forced the department to comply.
Metro has said it will release more records next week.
The department released its own 187-page report on the shooting investigation in early August. A federal report released this week found that Las Vegas police and Clark County firefighters channeled their training well but failed to follow some protocols during their response to the attack. The document presented 72 lessons learned.
A separate FBI report is expected sometime after the one-year anniversary.
Contact Rachel Crosby at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5290. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Henry Brean, Meghin Delaney and Briana Erickson contributed to this report.