Las Vegas cop's wife deletes YouTube video after her husband outs himself as too 'scared' to act - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas cop’s wife deletes YouTube video after her husband outs himself as too ‘scared’ to act

LAS VEGAS –  Who are the real heroes in the worst mass shooting in the United States and why can’t someone tell the truth? We still don’t have answers.  We uncovered a YouTube video from the wife of a cop who was there that provides another story on what happened that night.

But first some background:  The Baltimore Post Examiner published Tuesday the story, ‘Wife of Las Vegas cop who failed to confront Paddock calls husband a hero.’  We reported in that story that Jennifer Hendrex, the wife of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officer Cordell Hendrex who failed to confront gunman Stephen Paddock on the night of October 1, 2017, called her husband a “hero” on her Facebook account and in a YouTube video shortly after the mass shooting.  The Baltimore Post Examiner reported Wednesday, the Facebook posts, and YouTube video were deleted after her husband’s report became public in which he says he was too “scared” to act.

The following is a transcript of Jennifer Hendrex talking about her husband’s actions the night of the Las Vegas Massacre. Many of the key points in her husband’s report of the incident are not mentioned in this video.

The video was posted to YouTube on October 19, 2017, and it also included her sister, who is married to a Las Vegas police officer. That officer also was working the night of the massacre, however, he was not inside the Mandalay Bay.  During Paddock’s reign of gunfire, his police vehicle was hit by multiple rounds while on Las Vegas Boulevard.  He was not injured.

The transcription of Jennifer Hendrex speaking on her now-deleted YouTube video

“Both of our husbands are police officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.  Both of our husbands work together.  They work on different squads, but they work the same shift. The area command they work in, it’s what we call the Convention Center Area Command.  Both of our husbands are field training officers, they both train brand new officer’s out of the academy, train them to be full-fledged police officers.”

“We really weren’t going to share any of that, they really deserve some praise for that night and that night of October 1st affected our family greatly.  Both of our husbands were on duty that night.  And both of our husbands had trainees with them that night.  My husband’s trainee, it was her second day out of the academy.  Technically we would call it her first day because her first day, it was a lot of paperwork, just things at the station they were learning so it was her very first night out on the streets of Las Vegas.  We have debated on how much we share of what they did that night, where they were and not because we aren’t proud of them, because we now decided to share their story with their blessing and to share where they were.  But even as of yesterday we weren’t going to, just because they have struggled with the idea of their heroism, I can’t say it, that night.  We’re going to share what they did.”

Jennifer Hendrex said that her husband has been a police officer for ten years.

Her sister: “One thing about being a police officers wife you have to come to terms with the fact that your husband will always go to protect people no matter what’s going on.  My husband flat out told me, many many years ago, I will run towards the danger, I am not going to turn away.”

Jennifer Hendrex: “We always knew they would do that, just never thought they would have that chance to prove it.”

“The first calls came from inside the venue, inside the Route 91 concert because that’s where people were hit.  Some of what we get into, there might be a lot of media things that don’t necessarily show all of that, but which is why we start limiting what we say, but with our husband’s blessing we have this platform, we’re able to put this out there, but what happened to them, what the truth is.”

Her sister: “What their truth, what we know is their truth and what time frames that they experienced.”

Jennifer Hendrex: “What they heard over the radio came from the Route 91 and they believed that there was a shooter inside the concert, that was the first transmission that came.  The gunman diverted his firing from the crowd onto the officers that showed up in their van, as he [her sister’s husband] was and in their cars.  After it was all said and done her husband was there as investigators were counting bullets in his van.  He stopped kind of watching them count about 60 [bullet holes].”

“There were a lot of calls from other casinos about multiple shooters, but whatever comes out, the truth of all of that, we know that these officers believed when they were there that there were multiple shooters.  They searched and searched for any evidence of that because they were taking a lot of fire and so when you’re taking that much fire, it’s hard to believe that it could be coming from one person and one area. So, they did search, they did do their due diligence in searching because that’s what they believed as well.  So, they searched.”

“My husband had his trainee, his day two trainee, with him so some of the normal, they got called out to his, the casinos for what they call an in custody, and that would be anyone who is doing something inside the casino that shouldn’t be doing that and so they go.  So, they call Metro to come out and deal with these things.  So, my husband and his trainee after lunch, had gotten a call to respond to the Mandalay Bay and this would be about 9:15, so well before, because they had two people there that needed to be dealt with.  So, they responded, so really normal everyday business down there and so they responded, and they had decided that these two people were going to get tickets.  So, he was showing his trainee how they process these tickets and he was writing one and she was writing the another.”

“She did not get through writing these tickets.  While they were sitting in the security office they, my husband at about 10:05 heard over the radio of a shooter inside the Route 91 concert and all of their radio traffic is actually widely available on YouTube and Broadcastify, they put it all out there, so you can hear their radio traffic and you can hear what they experienced.  So, the initial things they thought because that’s where people are injured, injured inside the concert.  That’s where a shooter, that’s logical, every other time we had a massive shooting, it’s been a shooter inside or near there.”

“So, he had his trainee, they, he immediately says to the security officers ‘there’s a shooter across the street at the Route 91 concert.’  He gets up, his trainee turns on her bodycam, they do wear bodycams, and the body camera is recording all the time, but you have to manually hit the button that then starts, it will go back thirty seconds and it will then save and record these things.  So, she hits her button and he proceeds to leave the security office and following him is his trainee and three security managers of the Mandalay Bay who happened to be in the security room with him.  They were not wearing body armor.  They were in suits and they were armed with pistols.”   

“So, they were moving across the casino floor, actually at this point, he says they’re kind of moving, they’re not running, they’re not fully running, they are moving that direction, but to not cause a panic I guess, they’re not running, sprinting at that moment because on the casino floor it was business as usual there.  So, they are moving across the floor and during that time that’s when the radio says now we believe it’s coming from halfway up inside the Mandalay Bay. My husband turns to those with him, the four with him, and says they think it’s coming from here and they still, start to move where they were going and its literally just seconds before Mandalay Bay, one of them on their radio said we’re getting conflicting reports, think it’s coming from the 31stfloor.”

“So, my husband looks at the security officers and said just take me there, and so they then run across the casino floor too, they took him to the elevator that faces, goes up kind of the middle, then it branches out into the different rooms and you can see Mandalay Bay, so there’s a center elevator, they go there, inside.  My husband had no recollection of turning on his body camera.  There was a maintenance worker in the elevator who then turns, they said we need to go to the 31stfloor and he used his key to get them directly to the 31stfloor.  So, they get directly to the 31st floor and my husband will tell you that he was praying in the elevator at that point because he can hear his radio and the things that are happening.  They have not heard anything inside the Mandalay Bay like I said.  Officers pinned down by gunfire, I can hear the gunfire over the radio and they step out of the elevator and when they step out of the elevator, the floors completely quiet, there’s no one running around in a panic or anything.”

“They get out on the 31stfloor because that’s the floor they’ve been told, and they start to move down the hallway.  When you hear the Sheriff say at 10:12 the first two officers arrive on the 31stfloor, that would be my husband and his trainee.  There were three security guards with him that I do want to make sure they’re known because they deserve a lot of credit and a lot of prompts really for going up there and following him the way they did.  So, they’re moving their way, they get down towards the end of the hallway, there is a stairwell and just before they reach the stairwell, my husband said the volley, the last volley of shots came out.  So, before they heard shots, then the shooter is opening fire, which we now kind of know is probably about the time David [sister’s husband] experienced the last volley of shots.”

“So, he is up there on the 31stfloor, this volley of shots and he said was unbelievably loud, he said it was reverberating off of the walls and it was very very loud.  At that moment they don’t know how many shooters there are or where they are so he yells at those with him to take cover and so they get behind, back up from the stairwell, they get behind doorways and little inlets into the doors and take cover.  So, then my husband gets over the radio and I’ve heard him on the radio that says, ‘3Mary14, I’m in the Mandalay Bay, I’m on the 31stfloor and the shots are coming from one floor ahead of us, one floor above.’  Then he’s bothered that he said one floor ahead in his critique.  My husband has analyzed hard these moments that this gunfire is going because he literally had no other officers with him and he had security officers and he had his trainee, and so as far as when they talk about they had officers banded together, he really didn’t, these people through the casino into this terrifying… And he said during, while the shots are going off above him, that it was going through his head that ‘I have these lives with me, I cannot rush that room because I have these lives and they didn’t know at this moment where the room was there.’

“When the shots stopped ringing out and they were able to kind of move and they moved forward in the stairwell and they entered the stairwell, my husband said, I thought of trying to bust down on that door and go through the door there, the stairwell that adjoins the doorway of the room of the shooter and so he has criticized himself a lot, should I have rushed that room, but at that moment there were no more shots being fired.  Nothing, they did not hear shots at all when they were in that stairwell.  He had criticized and analyzed, he had three people with no body armor on that probably would have followed him wherever he went.  The trainee, it’s her second day, you can’t expect her to rush a room with an automatic live gunfire going behind you, as you rush with pistols into automatic gunfire.  Some of the officers like you said, had time to get their rifle and things out of there car, they had what was on them and that’s it.”

“So, they entered that stairwell and they, my husband said the thing to do was to make sure no one could escape, that there was no shooter who escaped down that stairwell because he said I can’t take them into active gunfire from an automatic weapon.  So, he also heard on his radio of other officers responding and coming so he’s thinking, I’ve got officers coming, so we can deal with this, so I don’t have to put their lives in danger, so they stayed in that stairwell, the five of them, holding that stairwell until Sgt. Bitsko who is a K-9 sergeant, who my husband knows very well because he does the K-9 trials.  So, he knows him pretty very well.  My husband said that he, as he was coming up the stairs to meet them; ‘Metro, Metro, Metro,’ and my husband answered back, ‘Metro, Metro, Metro.’ He said it was like the sweetest three words he has ever heard because he said the cavalry was here and my backup was coming.”

“So, Sgt. Bitsko’s been on 60 Minutes and his interviews and things there he talked about how they breached the room but my husband and his four rag-tag, there was only about a total of eight officers who breached that room and busted into that room.  There wasn’t a lot of SWAT, you heard SWAT busting in that room, there I believe, there was one SWAT officer and then it was the group of who they had, that was there that busted into that room.  Where they talk about why they waited so long and things, well there were barricades up and locked and cameras and all of those things. They had no idea what they were walking into if it was booby-trapped.  Those were some things so; my husband was there when they breached that room.  He really didn’t go in the room because pretty quickly they discovered that he was no longer living, the shooter, and so then it’s a crime scene.  So, as he said, he really didn’t even breach the room before they discovered that he’s no longer with us.  So, my husband like, it’s a crime scene, I’m not contaminating that crime scene, so I backed out and let those who handle all that, handle all that.  Then our husbands were there clearing floors and mine was like downstairs guarding, keeping people out.  Their normal shift starts at 3 p.m., and they didn’t come home until about 8:30.”

What’s missing from her story is what her husband said in his report as people were being slaughtered across the street by Paddock’s gunfire:

“I then told everyone to get back and we retreated a few doors down from the end of the hall.  I know I hesitated and remember being terrified with fear and I think I froze right there in the middle of the hall for how long I can’t say.”               

“I once again hesitated as the shots were still being fired from the 32nd floor and I remember saying a prayer in my head for God to keep us safe.  I did not know what to do next.”

Mandalay Bay Security Manager Sottile told the FBI and an LVMPD detective that Hendrex was with him on the 32ndfloor as Paddock was firing from his room and they remained on the floor after the gunfire stopped covering Paddock’s suite to make sure nobody exited the room.

The lives of 22,000 people changed forever on the night of October 1, 2017.

Remember 58 died, over 400 were wounded by Paddock’s gunfire, hundreds of others suffered injuries, and all will live with their emotional and/or physical scars for the rest of their lives.


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.
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