Las Vegas cop who was too scared to enter Paddock's room still training officers - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas cop who was too scared to enter Paddock’s room still training officers

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer Cordell Hendrex is still a field training officer even though evidence indicated he was less than a minute away from entering the room where mass killer Stephen Paddock starting shooting but chose to wait it out as dozens died.

Hendrex’, and Officer Elif Varsin’s decision not to enter the room on October 1 was on par with the decision made by the Florida officer who failed to enter the school as children were being slaughtered last month.

In an email sent to the Baltimore Post-Examiner LVMPD spokesmaOfficer Larry Hadfield wrote: “Hendrex   – Active Tourist Safety Division/Convention Center Area Command/Patrol/FTO.  Varsin – Active Tourist Safety Division/Convention Center Area Command/Patrol.”

In his report Hendrex said on October 1 he and Varsin, his day-two trainee, along with armed Mandalay Bay security personnel were on the 31stf loor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel hearing the gunshots of gunman Stephen Paddock emanating from the 32nd floor as Paddock was actively killing and wounding helpless concert attendees at the Route 91 Music Festival.

No action was taken to stop Paddock. How many more lives could have been saved if one of those officers entered the room will never be known.

“Once we were near the end of the hall we heard a volley of automatic rifle fire start,” Hendrex said.  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 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 do know that at 2212 hours I got on the radio and told dispatch that I was inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31stfloor 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 32ndfloor and I remember saying another prayer in my head for God to keep us safe.  I did not know what to do next.”

Terrified with fear, froze in the hall for how long he can’t say, hesitated again and did not know what to do next.  All the while people were being slaughtered across the street.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardohas remained mute on this subject.

What we do know is that Hendrex is still a police officer protectingcitizens and still training new police officers.


Never forget 58 people died the night of October 1st  and more than 400 others were wounded during Paddock’s gunfire.


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.


  1. MattBracken says:

    Just putting rounds into Paddock’s suite from outside probably would have caused him to redirect his attention to the hallway and stopped the slaughter.
    For shame.

    • Doug Poppa says:

      So true Matt, so true. Any type of response from Hendrex would have been better than retreating, hesitating, froze, didn’t know what to do next. And none of the national media has picked this up yet. And he had a small group of armed officers with him, so he says.

      • MattBracken says:

        Maybe in this case, a training officer (rule bound, in the box) was exactly the wrong guy. It’s way out of the box to just fire into a room, but in this case, it’s exactly what was needed to draw Paddock’s attention away from the window. And many of these guys off themselves the minute they get resistance.

        • Doug Poppa says:

          Some people just can’t think out of the box and in this case it resulted in more deaths and injuries. Hendrex said he did not know what to do next. Freaking disgraceful coming from a cop and a field training officer at that. So true Matt.


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