Las Vegas Metro Police: Officer Cordell Hendrex who failed to take action during Massacre no longer employed - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas Metro Police: Officer Cordell Hendrex who failed to take action during Massacre no longer employed

LAS VEGAS — Field Training Officer Cordell Hendrex is no longer employed with the department, according to three Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) Communications Center operators who spoke to the Baltimore Post-Examiner.

Hendrex was the officer who said he was too scared to attempt to go into the room where gunman Stephen Paddock unloaded more than 1,000 rounds killing and wounding multiple people at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in 2017.

His actions mirror Scott Peterson, the 56-year-old retired Broward County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer who failed to confront the former student who gunned down and killed 17 students and staff at Majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida on Feb. 14, 2018,

Peterson was charged on 11 counts this week in connection with his cowardly decision not to act. His lawyers have called the charges politically motivated and vowed to fight them vigorously in court.

Peterson was booked this week into the Broward County jail and faces child neglect, culpable negligence, and perjury charges. He was also fired.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen, whose agency conducted the 15-month investigation along with the Broward State Attorney’s Office, said, “There can be no excuse for his complete inaction and no question that his inaction cost lives.”

Peterson refused to investigate where the gunshots were coming from and retreated during the gunfire as victims were being shot, the investigation concluded.

Now compare Peterson’s inaction to LVMPD Field Training Officer Hendrex, who along with his trainee, LVMPD Officer Elif Varsin and three armed Mandalay Bay Hotel assistant security supervisors, retreated on the 31st floor of the hotel for over four minutes on October 1, 2017, as gunman Stephen Paddock’s gunfire was killing and wounding Route 91 Harvest Music Festival attendees.

Hendrex retreating on the 32nd floor.

Consider the following:

Hendrex and his armed contingent failed to take any action to reach the 32nd floor to attempt to stop, distract and or disrupt Paddock’s gunfire.

Hendrex remained in total safety on the 31stfloor while other LVMPD officers with guts were running through the gunfire to get into the Mandalay Bay to get to the shooter.

Hendrex was the closest police officer to Paddock’s suite.  Five armed trained personnel that could have made a difference that night, but nobody took any action to even try. And let us not forget the three armed Mandalay Bay security personnel who were on the 32nd floor while Paddock was firing and they too failed to act to save lives.

Hendrex was fully aware by his own admission that people were being killed and wounded by an active shooter that was inside the Mandalay Bay and that his fellow officers were being pinned down by gunfire before he exited onto the 31stfloor.

Police body-worn camera video that was released in June of 2018 confirmed Hendrex retreated and made no attempt to reach the 32nd floor as the gunfire continued on.

The Las Vegas Massacre is the worst mass shooting incident in modern American history. 58 people were murdered and almost 500 suffered injuries sustained by the gunfire.

What did Hendrex say in his officer’s report?

At approximately 2207 hours I heard an officer get on the radio and say there was an active shooter inside the Route 91 Music Festival which I knew to be across the street from the Mandalay Bay hotel.

I heard on the police radio that at least some of the shots were coming from somewhere inside of the Mandalay Bay about halfway up on the side of the casino closest to the strip and not just from the concert.  One police officer said that they were taking rounds and were pinned down and I could hear gunfire in the background of the radio transmission.

As we rode up to the elevator I distinctly remember saying a prayer in my head for all of us in the elevator and the ones still dealing with the shots coming at them.

While going down the hall one of the guys said that there was a stairwell at the end of the hall. Once near the end of the hall, we heard a volley of an automatic rifle fire start.

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.

I know I hesitated and remember being terrified with fear and I think that 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 I 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 32nd

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 stairway.

I could feel my mouth was extremely dry and cotton mouth and I had no spit, I also felt myself starting to get tunnel vision and I can remember concentrating on tactical breathing to calm myself.”

Does anyone work at the LVMPD Public Information Office?

In our June 8, 2018 Baltimore Post-Examiner article, ‘Las Vegas cop who was too scared to enter Paddock’s room still training officers,’ I wrote that in response to an email sent to the LVMPD as to the status of Field Training Officer Cordell Hendrex and Officer Elif Varsin, LVMPD spokesman Officer Larry Hadfield wrote: “Hendrex   – Active Tourist Safety Division/Convention Center Area Command/Patrol/FTO.  Varsin – Active Tourist Safety Division/Convention Center Area Command/Patrol.”

On Tuesday after I heard about Scot Petersen’s arrest I called the LVMPD Convention Center Area Command (CCAC) and asked for Officer Hendrex on the off-chance I could talk to him. I was told that there was no Cordell Hendrex assigned to the CCAC.

I then called the LVMPD Communications Center and asked for Hendrex. The operator told me that there is no Cordell Hendrex in the database. When I inquired why that would be I was told by the operator that he could be retired or is no longer employed by the department.

At 2:38 p.m. I sent an email to the LVMPD public information office requesting verification as to whether Hendrex is or is not an active member of the LVMPD. I received no response.

On Wednesday I called back the Communications Center twice to confirm what the operator on Tuesday had told me.   On both separate occasions two different operators advised me that Hendrex was not in the database and was not with the department. When I inquired about Officer Elif Varsin I was informed she was off on Wednesday but currently works out of the CCAC.

I then called back the PIO and asked them if someone would be getting back with me to confirm if Hendrex was still employed with the LVMPD. I did not hear back.

Lombardo defended Hendrex’s ‘cowardly’ actions in radio interview

Sheriff Joe Lombardo who runs the LVMPD was interviewed by Alan Stock of Las Vegas radio station KXNT 840 AM on July 11, 2018. Lombardo tried to do some damage control by making excuses for and defending Hendrex.

“He went with his partner along with security to investigate what the situation was, and he was confronted with an overwhelming level of gunfire and you know what, it’s just like the fog of war where you have no idea of how you would react until a situation.  Talk about it until the cows come home until you are put in that situation, you don’t know how you react and everybody’s’ actions associated with 1 October will be evaluated,” Lombardo said.

Retired Las Vegas Police lieutenant slammed Hendrex

On October 10, 2018 The Hidden Truth Show hosted by Jim Breslo aired its podcast of an interview with author and retired Las Vegas Police Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Randy Sutton, a 30 year police veteran.

“I will say that the embarrassment of the one officer and his trainee who were on the 31st floor, got to the 31st floor, heard the gunshots going off and then did nothing, is something that is a black eye for the department. I think that it’s, I was shocked,” Sutton said. “Well if it were ninety-nine percent of the police officers I know, they would have gone up and try to take out the shooter.” “You take, you know right then and there that lives are being lost and you have sworn an oath to protect and serve, you’re trained, you don’t take, I don’t have to sacrifice your life willingly, but you certainly have a responsibility to get up to that floor and see if there is an action you can take that is reasonable in the light of all the circumstances. You know, remember, all he heard was the gunfire. If he had gone up to that floor and he had seen what the circumstances were, maybe, and this is all conjecture at this point, maybe there was an opportunity to get up there and take out that shooter.”

Sutton continued, “He never got up to the 32nd floor. He just hunkered down and waited and so that’s the problem.”

It is unknown if Hendrex ever faced any department disciplinary action stemming from the night of October 1, 2017.

A criminal records check through local court records indicates no current criminal charges against Hendrex.

A public records inquiry indicates that in 2018 Hendrex’s total pay and benefits was $143,590.

Florida gave the public transparency, almost immediately after the school attack and then conducted an investigation that led to Petersen’s arrest.

What’s up Sheriff Lombardo?

Does not the public, the families of the victims who were killed and the survivors of the October 1 Las Vegas Massacre deserve transparency or is this just another cover-up by you to protect the image of the department.





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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12 Comments

  1. I hear lots of things on our hotline. If one of those rumors is true – where did the money come from that paid the victims? Also, I remember the news right before the massacre. Someone was breaking into rooms while people slept and the hotel did nothing. I literally said to my daughter that something was about to pop off because I’ve seen what happens when the CIA are in town and restless. They do things to horse around like break into occupied rooms. I don’t believe he got past security without help. So seriously – where did the money come from?

    Reply
  2. Billyjack curtis says:

    Great work as always sir. Check out Ramsey Denison and the work he’s done to expose the violent criminals inside the LVMPD. His movie What Happened in Vegas shines a light on this dirty cop and The Lombardo crime family.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know when he was fired. If that was the case. We may never know what really happened. Just like the shooting. It’s all a big mystery. I wish we could get some answers. It’s been almost 2 years and what do really know about the shooting. Not very much.

    Reply
    • Roger A Kenis says:

      They arent going to openly tell us when he was fired, as its a personel issue but if you have read all of Dougs writings, there is alot that is known. There are some details left out but hopefully, it comes out and is adknowledged. I can fill in a few big gaps, but they wont admit to it, obviously. Hopefully it goes to court in some capacity but they have no interest in the truth because its embarrassing. They need to get over that and just face it.

      Reply
  4. Mike Zahara says:

    Thanks you for the informative update Doug and your continued interest in what happened OneOCT. I had the unfortunate experience of being at the Vegas Knights game—my first—the evening Hendrex and his wife were comped as guests to T-Mobile Arena, feted, saluted, and applauded by the sold out crowd as the ‘hero of Mandalay Bay. It was nauseating for me to witness in person. I love your resiliency in attempting to call and get comment from Carla Alston or anyone else in PIO when had Brass let them handle all the Media post event, we’d not have gotten so derailed and Carla even made the papers and was quoted directly for the first time in her career, see the commotion you cause around here?

    Keep up the good work good sir and thanks again!

    Reply
  5. Roger Kenis says:

    Doug, on a personal note… I hope that some journalism entity recognizes all of your investigative work and the efforts you have put in to serve our country. Many other journalists have failed to question and report these issues and should be taking notes on what kindof responsibility they have to report it. You have been a true leader on this issue. I know it’s true, that the whole Route91 community thanks and is grateful to you!

    Reply
  6. Vegas Citizen says:

    DumbTardo is so crooked that he makes Lombard street in Frisco look Straight, he has to go! He and Sisotax the governor are a team and they will take Nevada down with them!

    Reply
  7. Roger Kenis says:

    Good to hear. There needs to be a few more, Lombardo, Rouse, Murren, the Board, and all those security officers that failed. Including those hiding in the kitchen.
    Thanks for the update.

    Reply
  8. Anonymous says:

    Agreed Lombardo is crooked as a dog’s hind leg

    Reply
  9. Anonymous says:

    Lombardo is a disgrace to the department, I do not know a single officer with the LVMPD that is in support of him. In fact if you recall there was one officer in BWC stating offf he were to die that night that he didn’t want Lombardo giving his wife the flag nor did he want Lombardo anywhere near his funeral. Just one that was caught on video saying such. I wonder what type of disciplinary action was taken against him.

    Reply

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