An unarmed security guard is being heralded as a hero after he was the first person to discover Stephen Paddock inside his Las Vegas hotel room.
Initially, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said that Jesus Campos, a 25-year-old security guard at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, located where the intense gunfire was coming from October 1. Upon finding the room, authorities said Campos was struck in the right leg by one of the more than 200 rounds that were fired through the door. Campos radioed for assistance, and armed officers rushed to the floor, exchanging in gunfire with the 64-year-old Paddock, police had said. When officers finally breached the hotel room, they say Paddock was dead on the floor of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
But Lombardo updated the timeline of the shooting October 9, saying Campos found Paddock’s hotel room before he took aim at concertgoers. They now aren’t sure why Paddock stopped shooting. He said the earlier information about Campos alerting officers where the hotel room was wasn’t accurate, and they weren’t aware Campos had been shot “until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator.”
On October 6, Las Vegas Metropolitan Undersheriff Kevin C. McMahill, confirming the initial timeline, praised Campos for his heroic actions.
“Jesus Campos is a true hero,” McMahill said at a press briefing. “He was dispatched to what they call a ‘door alarm’ on the 32nd floor. He went up there to investigate the open door and as he was doing his job diligently, he came under fire by our suspect. As you know, he was struck in the leg, turned around and retreated, notified his dispatch — which was absolutely critical to us knowing the location as well as advising the responding officers as they arrived on that 32nd floor.
“I can tell you, this was a remarkable effort by a brave and remarkable man. I want to say today that I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job recognizing him and his actions, and for that I apologize. I’d like to take a chance to clear the record and say he’s an absolute hero.”
Lombardo had said earlier in the week that it’s “amazing” Campos survived, adding he believes Paddock stopped firing because he saw Campos approaching and “was in fear he was about to be breached.”
“His bravery was amazing,” Lombardo said. “He gave our officers the key card for the room and then continued clearing rooms until he was ordered to go seek attention.”
Police say Paddock used several high-powered guns to kill 58 people and injure 489 more gathered across the street for a country music festival. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Here’s what you need to know about Campos and the incident:
1. Campos Says He Was ‘Just Doing His Job’ When He Found the Shooter’s Room & Was Met by Gunfire
Campos told ABC News on Wednesday that he was “just doing his job” when he located the shooter and tried to engage him, before being met by hundreds of rounds of gunfire.
“This individual, this security officer basically distracted the suspect,” ABC News consultant and former FBI Agent Steve Gomez said on Good Morning America. “It does look like after (Campos) came, the shots pretty much ended. That might have saved many lives, hundreds, if not more than that.”
Police say Paddock checked into his Mandalay Bay hotel room Thursday, September 28 and set up multiple firearms around the room. As country music star Jason Aldean took the stage around 9:40 p.m. local time Sunday, Paddock, who’s described as a “millionaire” by his brother, took aim at the more than 22,000 people gathered at Route 91 Harvest festival.
At 10:08 p.m., concert-goers were sent fleeing for safety as Paddock opened fire with the guns, pausing at times to reload. The incident lasted for about 15 minutes, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said it was investigating it immediately afterward, shutting down many parts of the city in the process.
In under two hours, police located the source of the gunfire and launched an operation to take down the suspect.
The new revelations as to what transpired between then and when Paddock was located in his 32nd-floor hotel room paint a different picture of what happened.
Lombardo told reporters October 3 his officers received reports of Paddock’s location via Mandalay Bay’s dispatch system.
“That helped us located where this individual was sequestered,” Lombardo said. “We would not have engaged this individual in the time lapse we did without their assistance.”
Campos was the first one to discover Paddock as he searched floor-to-floor carrying only a nightstick. When he approached the door, he was shot in the leg, Police and Fire Professionals of America Dave Hickey told The Daily Beast.
2. Police Say Paddock Had Cameras Rigged Inside & Outside of His Room
Lombardo revealed October 3 that Paddock had rigged multiple cameras inside and outside of his hotel room to see when “law enforcement or security” officers were approaching to take him down. He said two cameras were located in the hallway near the room and one was behind the peephole in the door.
In addition to the cameras, Paddock blocked the stairwell doors which led to the hallway outside of his room. To get to the room, Hickey said Campos had to take the elevator.
When he moved down to the room where he suspected the gunfire was coming from and tried to open the door, it was barricaded and bullets came firing through the door, striking Campos and injuring him.
3. SWAT Teams Gained Entry About an Hour After Paddock Stopped Firing
Police initially said they discovered Paddock’s location from Campos after he was shot in the leg, and SWAT teams performed an operation to breach the hotel room door and make contact with the suspect. Police scanner traffic indicated a group of officers were gathered inside a stairwell near the room with the intent of blasting the door open with explosives.
An officer can be heard saying “breach” followed by a loud explosion as officers stormed into Paddock’s hotel room.
Listen to the chilling police scanner audio from the shooting incident below. The moment police conducted the operation on Paddock’s hotel room comes at the 31:55 mark in the video:
Once inside, officers say they located Paddock deceased on the hotel room floor with a self-inflicted gunshot wound through his head. They found over 10 weapons with ammunition and shell casings laying on the floor near Paddock’s body.
In subsequent searches of Paddock’s homes, police recovered dozens of firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and explosives. They continue to investigate a motive in the shooting, but it hasn’t yet been disclosed.
On Monday, Paddock’s brother, Eric, said he was struggling to find a reason for the mass shooting. He said Stephen didn’t have any political or religious affiliation and was rarely violent.
Paddock’s girlfriend, Marilou Danley, has been named as a “person of interest” in the shooting. She was out of the country at the time, but arrived back on American soil from the Philippines late Tuesday evening. She was greeted by federal authorities, who brought her out of Los Angeles International Airport in a wheelchair to an undisclosed location for questioning.
Danley’s attorney made a statement on his client’s behalf Wednesday. He said Danley “knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man.”
4. Campos Is Recovering From His Injuries at Home
Campos was rushed to a nearby hospital after sustaining the injury and remains in good health. Hickey told The Daily Beast that the bullet is still in Campos’ leg and will be surgically removed at a later date.
Not long after the shooting, Campos said he was feeling well enough to leave the hospital, but staff and police urged him to stay to monitor his injury and interview him in the investigation. His family told NBC 3 News Las Vegas that he’s since been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by Liliana Rodriguez, a co-worker at the Mandalay Bay.
“Funds will be used to provide relief and financial support for him while he gets back on his feet. This is a young man that I work with day in and day out,” Rodriguez wrote. “Any financial support would be appreciate for the time he would need to recover. Any one of us could have been in the position he was in. Most importantly we are a home away from home and at the end of the day we are a team and we should all go home together.”
In three days, the campaign raised over $27,000. You can donate here.
5. Campos Is Being Honored for His Heroism
On Wednesday, Hickey honored Campos and the bravery and heroism he showed in approaching Paddock’s door. He said many more people could have been killed or injured if the security guard hadn’t discovered the room.
“I think we need to recognize the position that these officers hold,” Hickey said to The Daily Beast. “Security professionals in those kind of venues—whether it’s a bank or a hotel or Disney World — I’m telling you that I don’t think that our officers are recognized enough for the valuable role that they play in protecting property, people and even the nation. We just want to make sure that Mr. Campos and all of our officers are recognized for what they do every day, which is protect people.”
Hickey told Newsweek he thinks Campos deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The medal recognizes people who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security of national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.” It’s the highest civilian honor in the U.S.
“I don’t see how anybody could be unhappy if any of the first responders were awarded that medal,” Hickey said to the publication. “We’re extremely proud of Jesus and more importantly we’re happy for him and his family that his wound was not as many of the people that were killed.”
Since the shooting, President Donald Trump has expressed his gratitude for the quick response time by authorities in locating Paddock. He visited Vegas on Wednesday and lauded first responders for their “bravery,” telling the families of victims that “we’re there for you.”
“He did a good job, didn’t he? He did a good job,” Trump said, referring to Campos. “Now, his option would have been try to do it himself. But if it doesn’t work, you (police officers) wouldn’t have had the information, maybe, right? He did the right thing.”
Social media users also honored Campos in posts.