Three weeks on and there’s still no proper account of what happened on the Las Vegas Strip on the night of October 1st 2017. The official investigation and mainstream media coverage has focused on the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Festival venue, apparently conducted exclusively by 64-year-old gambler Stephen Paddock from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino resort, providing the public with a nonsensical timeline and a highly suspicious explanation of events as detailed by Joe Quinn in this article.
Since then, survivors from among the 22,000 people in attendance at the venue, along with other guests, residents and employees present on the Strip that night, have begun speaking out about what they saw and heard and to say their statements diverge from the official narrative would be a massive understatement.
Comparing police reports on published audio recordings of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD) scanner with videos taken by multiple eyewitnesses, along with eyewitness statements made to the media on the night, and in published testimonies they have been making since then, a picture emerges of terror and chaos deliberately spread over a much larger area than just the venue, a picture that casts further doubt on the official story of a lone gunman.
The media has glossed over the reports of incidents at other locations by reminding us that police scanner audios are unreliable accounts of what did or did not happen. If a police unit is assigned to travel to a location where gunfire was reported in order to investigate the presence of an active shooter, and they then report back ‘Negative shots fired at this location’, we may correctly assume that nothing happened there and that whoever made the initial call to police was mistaken.
The problem with making this assumption, in this context, is that on the night of October 1st into October 2nd, there were so many calls to police about ‘shots fired’, at so many different locations along South Las Vegas Boulevard (aka ‘The Strip’), and up to two hours after shooting from the Mandalay Bay had ended, that a police officer radioing in to ‘clear’ the presence of a threat at any given location is unlikely to arrive in time to see a gunman who has already moved on to another location (and whose patrons are in the process of frantically dialing 9-1-1).
The footage captured by taxi driver Cori Langdon right outside the Mandalay Bay – besides being of interest because it appears to contain audio of both distant and close automatic gunfire – is also interesting because she was listening in live to the LVMPD scanner. On her video we overhear a police report that is not heard on this ‘full’ published scanner audio that covers the same time period.
This is not to suggest that ‘false’ or ‘edited’ versions of the police scanner were published after the fact, but it does highlight that live-streamed or published scanner feeds are not necessarily complete records of every report made in and around events like this. First responders are at times communicating on different channels, talking over each other, or their reports are ‘enclosed’ and not relayed to central dispatch. Prior to ‘breaching’ suite 135-32 of the Mandalay Bay, we hear an officer suggest setting up a separate channel for exclusive use by the units that had arrived at the Mandalay Bay. At other times, we hear officers exchange phone numbers for two-way communication.
This changing-up between channels explains why we hear apparent non-sequiturs on the scanner: police officers at times seem to be ‘confirming’, ‘responding to’ or otherwise following up on previous communication between officers that we are not privy to. So yes, it is true that police scanner audio is an unreliable account of what did and did not happen, but that rule of thumb also means that there is likely more that went on than the broadcast/published scanner audio tells us.
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