Las Vegas shooting witness — NJ cop ‘sure it was helpless feeling for officers’
NJSPBA President Patrick Colligan was staying in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay when a gunman opened fire on concert-goers, killing at least 50 people, including two off-duty officers and wounding more than 200.
“Believe it or not, I’m actually staying at Mandalay Bay, I’m on the 29th floor," Colligan told me when he called into the morning show Monday. "We were in the lobby when it happened, in the casino making our way to the elevators, we just finished dinner, and we all got evacuated from the casino."
I asked Pat what the scene was like and whether he and those he was with had any idea of what was taking place. Colligan said that at first they just saw a security guard run past, which isn't out of the ordinary. Then they saw a cop with a traffic vest, then within minutes, there were "probably 30, 40 cops with long guns," shutting down the gambling and everyone was brought to a parking garage.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen – I’ve been a cop for 25 years – there were hundreds of police cars out on the street,” Colligan said. As much as an hour or an hour and a half later, there were helicopters hovering and there were still more police cars arriving from neighboring towns.
I asked Pat what would be going through the minds of the officers on scene and the law enforcement decision-making at that point. Pat said an officer couldn't open fire with a handgun from the ground into a hotel.
“The officers were running through with their long guns, they were shouting ‘32nd floor, 32nd floor.’ So you have to attack him from inside the hotel. I can’t imagine it was easy to figure out which room it was.”
You can listen to the full interview with in the YouTube clip above.
Authorities have identified the suspected gunman as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. He died after police confronted him Sunday on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel tower on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department says two of its off-duty members were shot during the attack at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on the Strip. At least one is out of surgery and stable.
If you are looking to check on family or friends that attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival, Las Vegas Police have set up a number to call.
— With information from the Associated Press
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