Police believe Paddock had up to 10 suitcases stored there and may have ferried up weapons and amunition over several trips. He is thought to have set up a bipod to prop up the weapon while he sprayed the crowd with bullets from two different vantage points.
The police audio begins just after 10:08pm with a “Code Red” that “sounds like an automatic firearm”.
“I see the shots coming from Mandalay Bay halfway up,” says one policeman who, like the others on the tape, is unidentified. However this is quickly confused with other misinformation about reports of an “active shooter inside the fairgrounds”.
Police can be heard scrambling to work out the source of the shooting while dealing with reports of casualties. After five minutes an officer said: “I’m inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor. I can hear the automatic coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.”
On the ground, a dispatcher tells police to avoid becoming sitting ducks by travelling down Las Vegas Boulevard as victim reports flood in.
“We can’t worry about victims, we need to stop the shooter before we have more victims,” an officer said. “Anyone have eyes on the shooter?”
Moments later, another agrees: “We can’t worry about the wounded and whether they’re hurt or not, we’ve got to contain the threat,” he said.
‘HE SHOT DOWN THE HALLWAY’
The officers tell staff to “shut down their elevators” and block stairwells to stop the shooter escaping. A strike team is formed, while one officer calmly insists “I’m on the 32nd floor the room is going to be 135.”
Retired Las Vegas lieutenant Randy Sutton said later the smoke alarm triggered by Paddock’s incessant shots was what ultimately gave away his position. He said Paddock used the high vantage point and massive ammunition stocks to “rain down hell” on the concert-goers.
At the time, police also flooded the 29th floor following reports of a shooting there which turn out to be false. On level 32, an officer said Paddock “shot down the hallway and hit a security guard.” On the ground, the dispatcher advises police to lock their cars as “citizens are trying to grab shotguns.”
“I need some more units here I’m being overtaken by citizens trying to take patrol cars,” one officer said. Another advises against travelling to a certain part of the festival ground.
“The more officers that come over here, the more that will be pinned down,” he said.
After 39 minutes the SWAT team is nearly in place but the floor still contains innocent hotel guests who have not yet been evacuated.
On the ground, an officer said: “I had a civilian take a patrol car” and teams warn of “booby traps” and a “blue-on-blue” in the ambush - referring to an accidental shooting of officers.
Around 1 hour and 12 minutes after the first reports, a SWAT team member says: “We need to pop this and see if get any type of response from this guy to see if he’s in here or if he has moved out somewhere else.”
“Breach! Breach! Breach!” can be heard along with an explosive sound and the words “one suspect down inside the room.”