‘I froze’: Las Vegas police officer fired for hesitating during mass shooting

A police officer among the responders to the deadly mass shooting at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in 2017 was fired earlier this year after body cam footage showed he hesitated while one floor below the room where Stephen Paddock was spraying gunfire on the crowd at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Cordell Hendrex was fired on March 20, following the court-ordered release of video footage and additional police documents from the October 1, 2017 shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more. The footage of Hendrex shows that he remained in position for four-and-a-half minutes on the 31st floor, while Paddock was firing from his suite on the floor directly above.

A Metropolitan Police Department confirmed the firing to the newspaper, but did not provide additional details. A police union president confirmed that Hendrex’s firing was the result of his inaction in the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, and criticized the decision, saying the decision was only made after the bodycam footage made the rounds in the media.

“After they knew, he continued to work for the department,” Grammas said. “In our opinion, until it came up in the news and they started getting some heat is when they made this decision.”

In his self-report of the incident, obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the officer admitted that he “froze” during the gunfire.

“I know I hesitated and I remember being terrified with fear and I think that I froze right there in the middle of the hall for how long I can’t say,” Hendrex wrote.

It is not known if any other officers faced disciplinary action over their response to the shooting.

[Feature image: AP Photo/John Locher, File]