Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said he thinks the quick action of law enforcement agents "prevented a thousand deaths" during last week's shooting rampage in Las Vegas.
"I think they prevented a thousand deaths. And I think it's important for the American public to understand that," Lombardo told CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday.
A hotel security guard arrived on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Hotel within 12 minutes of when the shooting began. An ad-hoc team of four law enforcement agents converged on the scene shortly thereafter and planned how to storm room 135 where the shooter, Stephen Braddock, was conducting his assault on a crowd below attending a music concert.
They soon discovered Braddock had barricaded the stairwell door, and SWAT Officer Levi Hancock used a pry bar to free the doorway. There they saw a room service cart with wires going underneath Braddock's door.
"So initially I'm, you know, I'm thinking, 'This is a booby-trap. It's — it's gonna explode,'" said Officer Dave Newton. "It turned out to be cameras on the food tray."
Hancock blew through the door with explosive charges and the officers cautiously entered Braddock's room. What they found inside looked like a "gun store," Newton said.
"So many guns. So many magazines. Stacks and stacks of magazines everywhere. Just in suitcases, all neatly stacked against pillars, around the room, all stacked up, rifles placed all throughout. All kinds of monitors and electrical equipment he had in there. It just looked like, almost, a gun store," Newton said.
"Shell casings all over the floor. I could smell the — gun powder that — that had went off in the room. We were trippin' over guns, trippin' over long guns inside. There was so many," Sergeant Joshua Bitsko added.
Braddock was already on the ground bleeding from the face from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot, the officers said. Newton described the scene as "eerie."
"Very eerie. Yeah. The dust from the explosive breach. And, then you have the flashing lights. And, that looked straight — like out of a movie," Newton said.
At least 58 people died in the attack and nearly 500 were wounded.
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