A maintenance engineer at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas has come forward to tell his harrowing story of surviving Stephen Paddock’s shooting massacre that killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 more.
Stephen Schuck appeared on the Today show Wednesday to describe his ordeal, crediting hotel security guard Jesus Campos with saving his life. Schuck had arrived to the 32nd floor of the hotel, where Paddock was staying, on the night of October 1. He was responding to a report that a fire escape door was not working. There, he encountered the injured security guard, who warned him that shots were coming from a room on the floor.
“When the first shooting started, I was kind of frozen for a second,” Schuck said on the Today show.
“He yelled at me, ‘Take cover! Take cover!’ If he yelled a second too late, I would have been shot.”
NBC News obtained a new audio recording of the first shots being fired. In it, Schuck can be heard communicating with hotel security about the gunfire.
“Call the police. Someone’s fired a gun up here. Someone’s fired a rifle on the 32nd floor.”
The new recording and Shuck’s interview provide a bit information surrounding one of the biggest questions in the investigation: Who was the first to contact authorities about gunfire on the 32nd floor, and when?
But the latest report does not fully clarify how and when law enforcement was notified — just that Shuck alerted hotel security to contact police. There still appears to be a gap in response time, as police reportedly did not arrive to the 32nd floor for another 19 minutes. It is during that time that Paddock is believed to have fired at a crowd of thousands from a window in his hotel room that he had smashed with a hammer.
“If they had known that the security guard was wounded earlier, could they have been there even faster?,” retired ATF Engineer Jim Cavanaugh said in an interview with NBC News.
“It is always a race against the killer and the clock.”
Representatives from the MGM Resorts, which operates Mandalay Bay, declined to provide any information about the security guard. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has not responded to inquiries regarding the investigation.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, MGM Resorts released a statement that appears to dispute the latest police-reported timeline of events. On Monday, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo announced for the first time that Campos was shot six minutes before Paddock fired into the crowd. This was a dramatic change from an earlier police account that stated Campos approached Paddock’s room after the concert massacre had begun, and that the guard was likely the reason Paddock stopped firing.
The MGM Resorts statement, published in full below, does not say specifically what aspect of the timeline the hotel group is questioning. A representative did not respond to a request for clarification.
“This remains an ongoing investigation with a lot of moving parts. As evidenced by law enforcement briefings over the past week, many facts are still unverified and continue to change as events are under review. We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline that has been communicated publicly, and we believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate.
We understand the public’s desire for information and the importance of getting our community and the public at large the information they deserve, and we are doing everything we can to support law enforcement’s efforts to do so. Therefore, it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time on what remains an open matter for law enforcement.”
NBC News and a local Las Vegas station that also obtained the audio recording did not specify who provided it to them.
[Feature image: NBC News screenshot]