DETROIT – Former Detroit Deputy Police Chief Steve Dolunt visited the Local 4 newsroom Monday to give some insight into the mass shooting in Las Vegas and the police response to the tragedy.
"We need everybody in that hallway to be aware of it and get back," a man said on the police dispatch recordings from the shooting. "We need to pop this and see if we can get any response from this guy. See if he's in here or he's moved somewhere else."
"All units on the 32nd floor," a woman said. "SWAT has explosive breach. Everyone in the hallway needs to move back. All units move back."
"Breach, breach, breach," a man said before the sound of an explosion.
Police sounded calm as they approached Stephen Paddock, who had an arsenal of automatic weapons in his hotel room.
How were officers able to pinpoint the source of the gunfire? Doing so would seem to have been a tall order, given how far away Paddock was in the general chaos of a concert.
"I was told that they got to the room because of the smoke alarms going off, because there's so much gunfire in the room," Dolunt said. "I don't know how true that is. I haven't confirmed that. I heard that, and it could make sense."
If you're on the scene as an officer, where do you even start?
"I have to give Las Vegas a lot of credit," Dolunt said. "That's a tough scene, because you've got all the victims down there, and you have to go past the victims to enter the hotel, which is hard because you can't render aid. You have to go stop the shooter and neutralize it. Very tough. Extremely tough."
The panicked crowd looked almost like soldiers on a battlefield, as police dealt with a shooter who was 32 floors above ground in a hotel room.
Dolunt talked about his first reflections when he found out how many people had been shot and how armed Paddock was.
"I was stunned that one individual could do this," Dolunt said. "Stunned, but actually not shocked because in Detroit we prepare for it quite a bit. There are scenarios in Detroit where we thought there was more than one shooter, and in this case, that's what you have to concern yourself with. There could be more than one shooter, and you're going in, and there could be a secondary -- whether it's an explosion -- to take out the public safety officials. It's a scary thing."
Officials said Paddock used a semi-automatic weapon that was modified with a trigger crank, which is a fishing reel-type device attached to the trigger. It made the gun shoot like an automatic weapon.
"There's been some consternation about the fact that you can buy, at any gun show, the equipment to modify a firearm from a semi-automatic to fully automatic, and that's a problem," Dolunt said. "Then they just file it down, or whatever. The good guys aren't doing that. Unfortunately, I think, it's the bad guys that are doing it, obviously. This individual had a mental deficiency of some type and he felt this was his way out."
Police are still searching for a motive for the attack.