As Mandalay Bay security guard Campos gave his first and only interview on Wednesday, a skeptical media and eager public continue to question why the singular key witness to the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history remained quiet for over two weeks, and offered only an insubstantial interview on an afternoon talk show best known for celebrity promotional spots and showcasing preternaturally talented children.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Campos made his first appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show Wednesday, after walking away from five scheduled media appearances last Thursday. Campos appeared alongside Mandalay Bay security engineer Stephen Shuck, as Degeneres asked what one news report described as “softball” questions.
“It was a rehearsed publicity stunt,” wrote Doug Poppa for the Baltimore Post Examiner.
On the show, Degeneres did walk Campos through a truncated timeline of events before Paddock opened fire on a crowd of thousands attending a country music show, using a diagram of the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. But the questions were hardly probing, and did little to clear up the timeline of the moments leading up to the mass shooting, which the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has revised since the investigation began.
“If this really was Campos’ only media appearance, he couldn’t have chosen a more welcoming atmosphere — or had one chosen for him,” Christopher Lawrence wrote for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Aside from helping them tell their stories, one of the few questions DeGeneres asked Campos and Schuck was, ‘How are each of you doing?'”
During the interview, Campos discussed how he was initially not sure of the sounds he heard when he arrived to the 32nd floor to check on a report of an open door. He said he heard what he initially thought were drilling sounds, and said he believes that the slamming of a stairwell door caught the shooter’s attention. But while Campos reported the gunfire, he did not mention in his initial radio call that he was shot.
“As I was walking down … I heard rapid fire and at first, I took cover, I felt a burning sensation, I went to go, lift my pantleg up, and I saw the blood, that’s when I called it in on my radio, that shots have been fired, and I was going to say that I was hit, but I got on my cellphone, just to clear the radio traffic for, so they could coordinate the rest of the call.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal contacted The Ellen Degeneres Show to get more information about how the interview was booked.
“We have no additional information to provide other than what Ellen, Jesus and Stephen discussed on the show,” the show’s publicity director told the newspaper in an email.
David Hickey, president of the Security, Police, and Fire Professionals of America (SPFPA), told CrimeOnline that Campos had been planning to record one live interview and four recorded interviews last Thursday, but that the security guard disappeared hours before she scheduled appearances. At the time, Hickey says he had left Campos and an unidentified security officer in a room at an unspecified hotel, but that both were gone when he returned about 20 minutes later. Hickey said he was later told that Campos and the security officer had gone to a walk-in clinic.
The union president also said that he had been planning to accompany Campos to the initial media interviews. But as of Wednesday, Hickey still had not been in contact with Campos and said he had nothing to do with arranging the Degeneres interview.
“I am extremely pleased that Jesus Campos has surfaced and appears to be in good health,” Hickey said, declining to speculate about why the security guard broke contact. The union president said that he would welcome any future opportunity to work with Campos and provide any support.
Hickey also added that there were many other individuals that should be credited with potentially lifesaving responses.
“I hope everybody recognizes that fact that there were a number of heroes, and they should be recognized,” Hickey said.
“I think Jesus was the first one in a terrible situation and we are happy that he wasn’t hurt any worse than he was. He certainly saved lives and was the first person to deal with the shooter.”
[Feature image: YouTube screenshot]