Police body-camera video confirms Hendrex took no action to save lives night of massacre - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Police body-camera video confirms Hendrex took no action to save lives night of massacre

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released additional police body worn camera video footage Wednesday from the night of the October 1st Las Vegas mass shooting that shows officers stood by as gunman Stephen Paddock fired multiple rounds upon the Route 91 Music Festival, killing dozens of people and wounding more than 400.

The footage was shot by  Officer Elif Varsin who was being trained by Officer Cordell Hendrex inside the Mandalay Bay. They were handling a trespassing complaint from Mandalay Bay Security.

As reported in several stories by the Baltimore Post-Examiner, Officer Hendrex, a ten-year police veteran and field training officer, failed to take any action to confront Paddock as his gunfire was killing and wounding concert attendees.

Hendrex by his own admission in his officer’s report said that he was directly below Paddock on the 31st floor along with Varsin and three armed Mandalay Bay security managers as they listened to the gunfire emanating from the 32nd floor and took no action to confront Paddock to stop, disrupt or distract his gunfire.

“The sound of the shots were so very loud and reverberated through the hall like thunder all around and above us. Above us! I could tell that it was coming from the floor above us on 32. I then told everyone to get back and we retreated a few doors from the end of the hall,” Hendrex said in his report.  “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 do know that at 2212 hours I got on the radio and told dispatch that I was inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor and that I could hear the automatic fire coming from the floor above us.

 

“I once again hesitated as the shots were still being fired from the 32nd floor and I remember saying another prayer for God to keep us safe. I did not know what to do next…At 2215 hours the last shots were fired, and we made our way back to the end of the hall to the stairwell.”

According to the video, Hendrex and his armed contingent were on the 31st for at least five minutes during the active gunfire. During this time the police radio is broadcasting that people are being slaughtered.

You can hear one officer say on the radio, “We can’t worry about victims. We need to stop the shooter before we have more victims.” Another officer says, “Does anybody have eyes on the shooter?”

While other police officers are running through the active gunfire to get to the Mandalay Bay to confront the shooter, Hendrex and his team made no attempt to get to the 32nd floor. As the video shows, they did not move into the stairwell until after the gunfire stopped.

They then waited in the stairwell for almost a half-hour until the arrival of other officers.

Several retired LVMPD police officers told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that they were sickened by what they watched on the video footage.

“It’s about saving lives, and Hendrex failed to do that,” one said. “Speed, surprise and violence of action to disrupt the shooter’s mindset is what you want to do, even if it means your life may be jeopardized to save others.”

“The book goes out the door when people lives are at stake,” another retired officer said.

The video footage also puts into question a statement that was given to the FBI and an LVMPD detective by a Mandalay Bay security manager after the massacre. That employee said that Hendrex was with him on the 32nd floor during the gunfire and immediately after and that Hendrex and he had Paddock’s suite covered to make sure nobody would exit the room.

In response to the release of the new footage, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department offered the following statement:

“Every officer’s actions that night are being evaluated. One of the things Sherriff Lombardo has said from the beginning is that this is an ongoing investigation. Part of that investigation is the evaluation of the performance, actions, and conduct of every officer and civilian employee involved in the incident.”


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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