Nearly 18 months after the October 1, 2017, Mandalay Bay Hotel massacre in Las Vegas, a city cop who was “terrified with fear” was fired, a police department official told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Ten-year police veteran Officer Cordell Hendrex was revealed on body camera footage to have stood waiting for almost five minutes on the 31st floor, one floor below gunman Stephan Paddock’s room. He had with him a new police trainee and three armed hotel security guards.
“I’m inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor,” Hendrex said, as indicated by police department recordings. “I can hear the automatic fire coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.”
In his official report, Hendrex admitted he was afraid. “I know I hesitated and I 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,” the officer wrote.
Subsequently, bodycam footage showed Hendrex and the four others with him entered a stairwell leading up to the 32nd floor where they remained for 15 minutes or more.
The shooting lasted 10 minutes, resulting in the deaths of 58 people on the ground. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Video evidence reflects radio reports of shooting and multiple casualties. Hendrex, his trainee, and three hotel security officers run to an elevator amid talk of a shooter on the 32 floor. They stop the elevator on the 31st floor and get off.
Footage shows Hendrex among the group, each with handguns out, down the 31st floor hallway. The first of at least five separate volleys of gunfire during a three-minute span.
“Holy s**t. That’s rapid-fire,” Hendrex says as he ordered everyone to stop.
Hendrex later wrote in his report: “I remember thinking that I had myself, my day 2 trainee and three security managers. Between the 5 of us only I and Officer Varsin were wearing body armor and all of us were armed with a handgun each.
“The shooting stopped and all I could think was to stop the shooter or shooters from … escaping,” he added.
Watch a portion of the body cam footage …
Video by Las Vegas Metropolitan PD
Long-view footage of the terrifying moment Paddock began shooting into the crowd from above as people try to run …
Video by Daily Mail
Officer Larry Hadfield, a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesman, confirmed on Tuesday that Officer Hendrex was fired March 20. He did not provide additional details or answer questions regarding an internal review of the actions of Hendrex and other officers that night, and it was unclear if any other officers were disciplined for their actions during the shooting.
Hendrex was terminated only after footage of his reluctance to respond was shared with the media, a police union spokesman said. “After they knew, he continued to work for the department,” the police union president, Steve Grammas, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “In our opinion, until it came up in the news and they started getting some heat is when they made this decision.”
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