The Confusing Timeline Of The Las Vegas Mass Shooting Illustrates The Enormous Difficulties Faced By Police

A little over 12 hours has passed since Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowds at the Route 91 Harvest Fetsival in Las Vegas. And with each new hour that passes, the authorities investigating the matter, the journalists covering the fallout, and the victims reeling from their experiences are learning more about what happened — and why. This includes the revelation that police were able to pinpoint Paddock’s exact location on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay thanks to the luxury hotel’s smoke detectors, and not because of his muzzle flashes. As NBC News indicates, however, one hour and 12 minutes passed before that happened.

“We’ve been trying to figure out how long this ordeal lasted,” said Pete Williams, a justice correspondent for NBC News. “Now we know that the first phone call to the police of a shooting was at 10:08 last night.” Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told news agencies previously that local 9-1-1 call centers received the first panicked reports from concert attendees at 10:08 pm PT (or 1:08 am ET). According to a timeline kept by several ABC News affiliates, however, the first news wire alerts didn’t go out until 10:40. Nearly half an hour later, police shut down the Las Vegas Strip between the concert grounds and the hotel at 11:08 pm.

In his report, Williams noted authorities didn’t breach Paddock’s hotel room door at the Mandalay Bay until 11:20 pm. “So it’s one hour and 12 minutes from the time of the phone call until the police finally went in and found that Stephen Paddock had shot himself dead,” he said. “What we don’t know from this timeline, what we can’t tell — and that’s going to be a long time, reconstructing the timeline — is when did the shots stop? We don’t know that.” That being said, the hour and 12 minutes that passed between the first 9-1-1 call and the door breach only reveals how incredibly difficult a task Sunday night’s horrific events presented to police.

For starters, the Route 91 Harvest Festival reportedly boasted a whopping 22,000 attendees when the shooting first started late Sunday. Not only is that a lot of panicked people to protect or rescue, but their location in relation to the Mandalay Bay also made the situation problematic. Paddock’s hotel room is located across the Las Vegas Strip, at an angle, from the concert grounds. And while some witnesses claimed to have seen muzzle flashes, it would have been almost impossible to determine the exact floor and room of the building by their sight alone.

(Via NBC News and ABC News)