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Unsealed warrants say SWAT officers watched Stephen Paddock shoot himself

The officer who issued the warrant request said it was based on inaccurate information he received very early in the investigation

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has corrected a statement included in warrant records released on Tuesday that indicated Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was still alive when SWAT officers first breached his suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino the night of the October 1 gun massacre.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that a search warrant written in the early hours of October 2 contradicted long-held claims by investigators that Paddock was dead before any officers entered his room.

“As SWAT officers breached room 135, they observed Stephen Paddock place a gun to his head and fire one round,” the warrant record reads.

But Sgt. Jerry MacDonald, who issued the warrant request via telephone as the investigation was just beginning to unfold, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he made that statement in error.

“That night was crazy. You get information coming in. It’s fluid, and none of it is confirmed,” MacDonald told the newspaper.

“And that’s par for the course when you’re doing telephonic search warrants. You base those search warrants based on what you believed up to that point.”

Sgt. McDonald insisted that he now believes Paddock took his own life before authorities breached his hotel suite, as LVMPD Sheriff Joseph Lombardo has also said since the early days of the investigation.

“He absolutely killed himself before anyone got into the room,” Sgt. McDonald told the newspaper.

On Tuesday, Clark County District Court Judge released 300 pages of LVMPD warrant records in response to a lawsuit brought by multiple media outlets. As CrimeOnline previously reported, the name of a second person of interest, Douglas Haig, was erroneously released due to a clerical error — his name was meant to be redacted from the pages before they were released to the media.

Haig told Newsweek he was interviewed by federal agents very early in the investigation and hasn’t heard from him since. He denied having any involvement in the shooting.

 

[Feature image: Associated Press]