In one of the most shocking developments to emerge in the week-and-a-half since Stephen Paddock killed 59 people and wounded more than 500 others during the worst mass shooting in US history, NBC is reporting that a maintenance worker said Wednesday he told hotel dispatchers to call police and report a gunman had opened fire with a rifle inside Mandalay Bay before Paddock began firing on the Harvest country music festival below.
Worker Stephen Schuck told NBC News that he was checking out a report of a jammed fire door on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay when he heard Paddock shoot security guard Jesus Campos in the leg. After the shooting, Campos peeked out from an alcove and told Schuck to take cover.
“As soon as I started to go to a door to my left the rounds started coming down the hallway,” Schuck said. “I could feel them pass right behind my head. “It was kind of relentless so I called over the radio what was going on,” he said.
“As soon as the shooting stopped we made our way down the hallway and took cover again and then the shooting started again.”
Paddock fired more than 200 bullets into the hall and nearby rooms at the beginning of his deadly rampage on Oct. 1.
Somehow, Schuck avoided the bullets.
“I am incredibly blessed that somehow I came out of there alive,” Schuck added.
Before Las Vegas Police unveiled the latest “narrative change” during a Monday press conference, it was believed that Campos had been shot after the rampage, not before. The changeup has raised questions about why Paddock chose to end his rampage and take his own life with a gunshot blast to the head when evidence in his room and truck suggested he intended to escape.
According to the official timeline, Campos was injured at about 9:59 p.m. Six minutes later, at 10:05 p.m., Paddock fired the first shots on concertgoers.
A police SWAT team got to the 32nd floor at 10:17 p.m., and a minute later learned that the security guard was hit and where the shots were fired from.
Mandalay Bay owner MGM Resorts said in a statement that it cannot comment about the ongoing investigation, but raised questions about the timeline since “many facts are still unverified.”
The report has raised questions about whether there was a lapse in communication among first responders that delayed their arrival on the scene.
The police’s latest timeline means it took 19 minutes for Las Vegas police to learn where the fire was coming from, information that Schuck had already relayed to hotel dispatchers.
In an audio recording of Schuck’s dispatch call released by NBC earlier today, Paddock’s first shots into the hallway are clearly audible.