In another bizarre twist adding to the mystery surrounding the horrific October 1 Las Vegas mass shooting, Jesus Campos — a key figure in the investigation into the deadly events — vanished on Thursday night, according to reports by ABC News and Fox News. Campos, the Mandalay Bay hotel security guard wounded by gunman Stephen Paddock shortly before Paddock opened fire with automatic weapons on a concertgoing crowd below, apparently disappeared shortly before he was scheduled to appear in a series of television news interviews.
Fox News personality Sean Hannity, who was scheduled to interview Campos, said that the wounded security guard “cancelled” the appearance.
A freelance journalist, Laura Loomer, said on her Twitter account that she visited the home of Campos’s family after Campos failed to appear for the interviews, and was told that the family “has a gag order.” But whether such a “gag order” exists and which agency might have imposed it has not been independently confirmed.
Also on Thursday, the company that owns the Mandalay Bay where Campos was employed contradicted a police account of the shooting, and the timeline of when Campos was shot by Paddock who fired through his hotel room door, spraying a corridor with about 200 bullets. According to an initial police account, Campos came upon Paddock’s 32nd floor room and was shot during or just after Paddock’s barrage of gunfire on the crowd of 22,000. In that initial account, Campos was credited with bringing an end to the massacre.
UPDATE, 10/13, 3:20 p.m. EDT: In a press conference Friday, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo refused the timeline of the Las Vegas shooting for a second time, now saying that there was no six-minute gap between the time Paddock shot Campos, and when the gunman opened fire on the crowd below his hotel windows, according to a report by The Washington Post.
But Lombardo left unanswered questions about when police actually arrived on the 32nd floor of the hotel where Paddock had set up his sniper’s nest and where he shot Paddock by firing through his closed hotel room for into the outside corridor.
Media scrum tonight as we learn security officer shot in Vegas attack, Jesus Campos’ whereabouts are unknown. pic.twitter.com/Jk09tRlPsX
— Stephanie Wash (@WashNews) October 13, 2017
But earlier this week, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo issued a revised timeline of the mass shooting — now saying that Campos was shot by Paddock before the gunman opened fire on the crowd. In the new timeline, police said, there was a baffling six-minute gap between the time that Paddock fired into the hotel corridor, striking Campos, and when the 64-year-old mass killer began shooting out of his hotel windows.
But on Thursday, a Fstatement issued by MGM Resorts International, the parent company of the Mandalay Bay hotel, disputed the revised timeline, saying that the supposed six-minute gap was in reality, a gap of no more than 40 seconds, according to a CNN report. In fact, MGM said, Paddock may have indeed already been shooting at the crowd when Campos arrived.
“The 9:59 p.m. PDT time was derived from a Mandalay Bay report manually created after the fact without the benefit of information we now have. We are now confident that the time stated in this report is not accurate,” the statement by the corporation read.
“We know that shots were being fired at the festival lot at the same time as, or within 40 seconds after, the time Jesus Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio,” MGM stated.
The statement also said that police who were already inside the hotel, as well as hotel security, made their way to the 32nd floor immediately upon hearing Campos report the shooting over a radio. The police timeline, with the six-minute gap, had raised doubts about whether police responded in a timely fashion to the shooting. Under that timeline, police would not have arrived on the 32nd floor until almost 20 minutes after Paddock shot Campos.
Nobody knows where Las Vegas security guard Jesus Campos is. He was shot by gunman and was set to be interviewed on Fox News but didn’t show pic.twitter.com/0fKR2lJoaD
— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) October 13, 2017
Police, as of Friday morning, had not yet commented on the MGM claims, but were expected to release more information at a press briefing later in the day.
The confusion over the timeline of events in the Las Vegas shooting and the disappearance of Campos only add to the puzzles surrounding the deadly massacre which killed 58 and wounded over 500 more. What motivated Paddock, a real-estate investor known as a high-stakes video poker gambler in Las Vegas, to plan and carry out the worst known single-day, one-gunman massacre in American history also remains a total mystery to investigators.
[Featured Image by Star Max/IPx/AP Images]