One thing is for sure, it’s not going to silence the conspiracy suspicions.
It took a nine-month legal battle that went all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court, but Americans are getting their first looks at what actually happened the night of the Las Vegas massacre last October.
And the questions are still lingering.
Videos taken from body cams worn by Las Vegas police responding to the Oct. 1 mass shooting, released Wednesday thanks to a lawsuit by several media organizations, illustrate just how confused the law enforcement response really was.
One segment, taken by a K-9 officer shortly after police entered the room where gunman Stephen Paddock lay dead, shows officers encountering the kind of preparations Paddock made before the killing.
“He has an intricate camera system set up, out to this,” the officer wearing the camera tells the others. “So he knew when officers were coming down the hallway.”
Another voice points out how much ammunition Paddock had on hand.
“There’s a whole suitcase full of loaded AK mag[azine]s,” another says.
Meanwhile, in another video shot while the carnage was still continuing, officers in a patrol desperately try to learn the nature of the attack they’re dealing with.
“We have a rifle deployed, we’re in front of Mandalay Bay, we’re trying to see where the shots are coming from,” one officer states, apparently inside the vehicle and speaking into the radio. “If anyone can advise, is it coming from Mandalay?”
A short while later over the radio comes a chilling message:
“Automatic fire. Fully automatic fire from an elevated position, take cover.”
Since they don’t reveal much that is new, the videos raise more questions than they answer — especially just what it was about them that took the authorities so long to get them out. And because they reveal so little, the skepticism was biting on social media. (Check out this string on CNN’s Breaking News Twitter account.)
For one thing, the first officer into Paddock’s room did not have his body cam activated. That could be a normal mistake by an individual in a stressful situation, or it could be something else. The bottom line is the public will never have a view of what happened in the first few seconds after officers entered the suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
For another, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and Sheriff Joe Lombardo have given Las Vegas residents and the American public at large plenty of reason to question whether they are getting the full story on the shooting.
(Here are 20 questions from Vegas resident and conservative radio talk show host Wayne Allen Root, and that’s just for starters.)
And then there’s the speculation about the killer’s motive, which remains unknown (at least publicly) though the Islamic State claimed that Paddock was a convert to Islam who had carried out the attack under the group’s inspiration, if not direction. (A New York Times correspondent, of all people, gave this claim at least some credibility.)
All told, LVMPD’s obvious reluctance to release information about the shooting, the questions that still remain, and the fact that these videos show nothing so much as confusion local cops could be facing when a completely unexpected event takes place means that the release of these videos won’t do much to settle the ongoing unease Las Vegas killer Stephen Paddock created when he left 58 innocent people dead and more than 500 wounded.
And it certainly won’t silence the conspiracy suspicions.
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