Six Minutes in Vegas: Did Police Respond Quickly Enough?

A revised chronology from investigators for the Las Vegas massacre is intensifying pressure for police to explain how quickly they responded to what turned out to be the nation’s deadliest mass shooting, the Associated Press reports. One lawsuit alleging a failure to protect the crowd has already has been filed.

A revised chronology given by investigators for the Las Vegas massacre is intensifying pressure for police to explain how quickly they responded to what turned out to be the nation’s deadliest mass shooting, the Associated Press reports. Two hotel employees called for help and reported that gunman Stephen Paddock sprayed a hallway with bullets, striking an unarmed security guard in the leg, several minutes before Paddock opened fire on a crowd at a musical performance, killing 58 people and injuring nearly 500 others. At 10:05 p.m. Paddock began his 10-minute deadly barrage into the crowd, firing off more than 1,000 rounds. Police didn’t arrive on the 32nd floor until 10:17 p.m., which is two minutes after he had stopped firing.

Questions remain about what happened in the six minutes between the time  Paddock fired 200 rounds through the door of his 32nd-floor suite into the hallway and when he unleashed a deadly hail of gunfire into the crowd at a the Route 91 Harvest festival. Among them: Were police notified immediately about the hallway shooting and did officers respond quickly enough to have a chance to take out the gunman before could carry out the bloodshed? Lawyers representing a woman shot at the festival have filed a lawsuit based on what they say is a failure to protect people attending the concert. The AP takes a close look at what we know and still don’t know about the six minutes in question.

from https://thecrimereport.org

As Bad as Las Vegas Was, 809 Have Been Shot Since

At least 809 people were shot in the seven days after the massacre on the Las Vegas Strip, 247 of them fatally, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. They were struck by bullets fired during domestic incidents, drive-by shootings, and accidental shootings. The national gun violence tally for October 2 through October 9 includes at least 22 victims wounded or killed in multiple-casualty incidents, defined as shootings with four or more victims.

At least 809 people were shot in the seven days after the massacre on the Las Vegas Strip, 247 of them fatally, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive reported by The Trace.. They were struck by bullets fired during domestic incidents, drive-by shootings, and accidental shootings. The national gun violence tally for October 2 through October 9 includes at least 22 victims wounded or killed in multiple-casualty incidents, defined as shootings with four or more victims. In one incident, four people were wounded at a vigil for a shooting victim in Miami. In another, five people were wounded in a drive-by shooting outside a Houston club. In another case,, Crysta Proctor and three of her friends were fatally shot by her estranged husband in Casa Grande, Az. Proctor had been granted a protective order against her attacker three weeks earlier.

At least 28 other people were also killed in domestic shootings over the week-long period. At least 25 people were accidentally shot in the week after Las Vegas, 13 of them fatally. In Las Vegas itself, three people have been shot since the attack: A man was wounded during a home invasion robbery and another man was critically wounded by his sister during an argument. One woman was killed after an argument at a friend’s house, bringing the number of gun deaths this year in Las Vegas to 169.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Police Fear Vegas Shooting Could Prompt Copycats

“Almost every school shooter since Columbine has made reference to Columbine. We know they study one another,” said Arvada, Co., Police Sgt. A.J. DeAndrea. “This could lead to a copycat syndrome, and we’d be remiss if we don’t find ways to address it.”

Law enforcement experts predict that Sunday’s Las Vegas mass shooting will alter police training to include more of a focus on the threat posed by high-rise snipers or others who kill from long distances, reports the New York Times. “This is a paradigm shift,” said John Urquhart, sheriff in Seattle’s King County. While police  will continue to train for mass shootings that follow the more common pattern where the gunman is closer to victims, Urquhart said the Las Vegas attack might have an impact similar to the 1999 Columbine massacre. That shooting led departments to retrain patrol officers to confront a gunman instead of waiting for a SWAT team.

The options for taking down high-rise snipers armed with assault-style weapons are limited.  Some larger, urban departments already train for an elevated gunman, said Mark Lomax, formerly of the National Tactical Officers Association. After the Las Vegas massacre, “there is going to be a lot more emphasis on out-of-reach situations, whether from a high-rise tower or a bridge,” said Lomax. Ordering sharpshooters to fire on a high-rise from a distance could also mean shooting into a room that might include hostages. “You can’t have a bunch of cops on the ground shooting up with their patrol rifles,” Urquhart said. Some experts fear that other potential gunman, having seen the devastation in Las Vegas, will try similar tactics. “Almost every school shooter since Columbine has made reference to Columbine. We know they study one another,” said Arvada, Co., Police Sgt. A.J. DeAndrea. “This could lead to a copycat syndrome, and we’d be remiss if we don’t find ways to address it.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Why Hotels Are a ‘Soft Target’ for Shooters

That Stephen Paddock was able to take 17 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition up to a room highlights the security priorities of hospitality companies.  Wishing to appear inviting to guests, many hotels focus on limiting theft, corralling unruly drunks and ferreting out people wandering the halls without a room,.

Before Stephen Paddock killed 59 people in Las Vegas on Sunday, police said he brought an arsenal of rifles past security and up to his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay hotel. That Paddock was able to take at least 17 firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition up to a room starkly highlights the security priorities of hospitality companies, the New York Times reports.  Wishing to appear inviting to guests, many hotels focus on limiting theft, corralling unruly drunks and ferreting out people wandering the halls without a room, said Mac Segal of the executive protection firm AS Solution. U.S. and European hotels have been “much slower on the uptake” regarding the chances of violence, compared to the Middle East and Africa, he said.

Explosives scanners and X-ray machines — standard equipment at airport terminals — will continue to be scarce in hotels because of the enormous premium that customers place on their privacy, said Jim Stover of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., an insurance brokerage. “The hospitality industry hasn’t gotten its act together in terms of antiterrorism,” he said. “It’s not going to be pushed, it has to be pulled.” In countries where hotels have been targeted by attackers, such as Egypt, Indonesia, and Israel, security tactics are much more intense and often invasive. In India, where in 2008, terrorists bombed two hotels in downtown Mumbai and attacked other sites around the city, holding hostages and killing more than 100 people, major hotel chains began using explosive trace detectors and X-ray systems throughout the country. Jan Freitag of  STR, which tracks hotel data worldwide, said hotels are “a soft target — always have been and always will be.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Vegas Shooting Only a Tiny Fraction of U.S. Gun Deaths

This year, close to 12,000 people have been killed in gun violence says the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks shootings via media and police reports. That works out to around 42 victims of gun violence per day, a figure that does not include suicides. Sunday alone there were at least 24 fatal shooting incidents in the U.S., including the Las Vegas shooting.

Large-scale, high-profile shootings such as the horrific one in Las Vegas are just a tiny fraction of the daily drumbeat of gun violence in the U.S., the Washington Post reports. This year, close to 12,000 people have been killed in gun violence incidents, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks shootings via media and police reports. That works out to around 42 victims of gun violence per day, a figure that does not include suicides. Sunday alone there were at least 24 fatal shooting incidents in the U.S., including the Las Vegas shooting, the archive says.

Day by day, week by week, the run-of-the-mill homicides that barely draw any attention account for the overwhelming share of U.S. gun tragedies. The Post described each of Sunday’s fatal shooting incidents. Examples: In Miami, A man was shot and killed by police in the early morning hours after gunshots were reported outside Heads or Tails Gentleman’s Lounge. In Lawrence, Ks., Three people were killed and two more wounded following an altercation downtown, also in the early-morning hours.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Was TN Church Gunman Retaliating for Charleston?

A note found in the car of the alleged shooter at a church near Nashville suggested that he might have been retaliating” for the shootings by Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine people at a Charleston, S.C., church in 2015.

The black man accused of a deadly shooting at a church near Nashville had a note in his car that alluded to revenge for the church massacre carried out by a white supremacist in Charleston, S.C., says the New York Times, quoting a report from the Associated Press. The note could help investigators understand the state of mind of the gunman, Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, when he fatally shot a woman and left half a dozen wounded as services were ending last Sunday at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. The note auggests a possible motive for the attack. Samson of La Vergne, Tn., was charged with murder and is being held without bond.

A law enforcement report said the note made reference to retaliation for the actions of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist responsible for the 2015 murders at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The killings by Roof, who was convicted last year and sentenced to death, shocked the nation. Roof, then 21 and lacking any direct ties to white supremacist groups, had become radicalized online and carefully planned the assault, in which nine people were killed. After the massacre, some officials worried about possible retaliation. William Nettles, U.S. Attorney in South Carolina when the attack happened, said, “My hunch was that I needed to be worried about a white nationalist’s copycat crime.” In Tennessee, Samson, a legal U.S. resident who immigrated from Sudan in the 1990s, had attended the church in years past but had not been seen there recently.

from https://thecrimereport.org

CO Says Theater Killer Is in PA Federal Prison

Victims of the movie theater attack, in which 12 were killed and dozens were wounded, had filed complaints, arguing that their rights were being violated by not knowing where he was being held. Colorado now says James Holmes is in a federal prison in Pennsylvania after he was attacked by an inmate in another location.

A jury convicted James Holmes in 2015 in the Aurora, Co., movie theater shooting rampage. The jury sentenced him to life in prison for killing 12 people and wounding dozens of others. Not long after that, Holmes effectively disappeared. His location was not publicly known for nearly two years after officials transferred him to a prison outside Colorado and refused to say where he was being held, which angered survivors of the attack and prosecutors alike. This week, that question was finally answered, says the Washington Post. Holmes, 29, is being held at the federal penitentiary in Allenwood, Pa. The high-security facility, which houses only male inmates, is 165 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Colorado officials said Wednesday that they had tried to place Holmes in a federal facility earlier but were unable to find space at a place they described as having the necessary security. They did not say where Holmes had been held until he was transferred. Holmes’s location had been a mystery since early 2016, when state officials said he had been moved out of Colorado. They would not say where he was transferred, pointing to safety concerns. One reason Holmes was moved was because he had been attacked by another inmate. Victims of the movie theater attack filed complaints, arguing that their rights were being violated by not knowing where he was being held. A state committee said the corrections department should have done more to keep victims informed, including telling them more about why Holmes’s location was not being revealed.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Road Rage Cited in Spike in Kansas City Shootings

Kansas City authorities say at least 10 roadway shootings have occurred since Aug. 17 on the east and south sides. Police say they appear to be random incidents by a number of shooters. “It’s ridiculous,” said a police spokeswoman.

A recent series of at least 10 shootings on roadways in Kansas City has stoked fears of another “highway shooter,” reports the Kansas City Star. But police say the shootings appear to be random, not a pattern by a single individual. “There are a lot of recklessly minded people out there with guns,” said Kansas City police spokeswoman Sgt. Kari Thompson. “It’s ridiculous.” She said highways are safe and most people hit were unintended victims of random gunshots or caught in crossfire.

Kansas City drew national attention in 2014, when Mohammed Whitaker was sentenced to 30 years for shooting into cars in south Kansas City. The latest incidents are being investigated as isolated cases. Road rage likely played a role in some. Some people have been injured; one was found dead. Vehicles have been damaged. Police say at least 10 shootings have occurred since Aug. 17 on Bruce Watkins Drive, U.S. 71 and Interstate 435, mostly on the city’s east and south sides.

from https://thecrimereport.org

WA Student Obsessed With School Shootings Kills One

High school student in tiny Rockford, Wa., brings a pistol and rifle to school, killing one student and injuring three others. He had warned the school that he was going to do “something stupid.”

Armed with a pistol and rifle, the shooter’s face reportedly “was passive” in the hallway of a high school in the tiny town of Rockford, Wa., near Spokane. He tried to fire a weapon, but it jammed, and another boy confronted him, the Associated Press reports. “He went to his next weapon,” Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said. “A student walked up to him, engaged him, and that student was shot. That student did not survive.” Three other students were seriously injured by gunfire Wednesday morning at Freeman High School. A custodian stopped the shooter, a heroic action the sheriff said prevented more bloodshed. The injured victims were expected to survive.

The suspect, who a classmate described as being obsessed with previous school shootings, was taken into custody. Witnesses described a panicked scene when shots rang out, with bullets hitting the ceiling and students screaming and running down the hallway. Michael Harper, a 15-year-old sophomore, said the suspect had brought notes earlier saying he was going to do “something stupid” and might get killed or jailed. Some students alerted counselors, but it wasn’t clear what school officials did in response. Harper said the shooter had many friends and was not bullied, calling him “nice and funny and weird” and a huge fan of the TV show “Breaking Bad.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Wilmington, De., Leads Nation in Teen Shootings

Of the 10 cities with the highest teen shooting rates, most had populations of less than 250,000, according to an analysis by the Associated Press and USA Today Network of Gun Violence Archive data.

Wilmington, Delaware, a city of 72,000 known as the birthplace of chemical giant DuPont and as a cozy home for big banks and Fortune 500 firms, leads the U.S. in its rate of shootings among people under 18, according to an analysis by the Associated Press and USA Today Network of Gun Violence Archive data from media reports and police press releases.

The analysis covers a 3½ year period through June of this year.

“It’s nonstop, just nonstop,” said William Rollins V, whose stepson was shot. “Around every turn, they’re taking our kids.”

Of the 10 cities with the highest teen shooting rates, most had populations of less than 250,000. Among them were Savannah, Ga.; Trenton, N.J.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Fort Myers, Fl.; and Richmond, Va. Chicago was the only large-population city high on the list. Poverty and a sense of hopelessness in the most violent neighborhoods is a common thread.

Syracuse has a poverty rate of 35 percent. Other cities, like Savannah, are deeply divided. While its antebellum mansions, gnarled live oaks and marble monuments to war heroes drew more than 13 million visitors last year, the scenery there quickly shifts to decaying neighborhoods, abject poverty and deadly violence.

from https://thecrimereport.org