After releasing a preview the day before, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” showed the full interview on Sunday night of law enforcement officers who stormed the room a week ago in Las Vegas, where mass murderer Stephen Paddock launched his brutal assault.
“60 Minutes” opened tonight’s segment “Storming Room 135” with Detectives Casey Clarkson and Matthew Donaldson, Officers Joshua Bitsko and Dave Newton and SWAT team member Levi Hancock describing the “neatly stacked” guns and magazines in the hotel room at the Mandalay Bay that Paddock used to murder 58 people and wound hundreds more.
The officers said there were so many long guns in the room that they were tripping over them. Each of them heard over the police radio that there was an active shooter and responded to the scene without hesitating. Conflicting reports over the radio of whether the shooter was on the 29th floor and 32nd floor made these brave officers think there may have been two shooters.
They soon learned that wasn’t the case.
K-9 cops, detectives and a SWAT officer formed an ad hoc SWAT unit, carefully planning the breach of Paddock’s room.
A food tray on a room service cart just outside the door thought to be a booby trap actually turned out to be cameras Paddock set up to warn himself of law enforcement activity.
After they breached the room, they said it looked “almost like a gun store,” detailing that they saw a bloody revolver on the floor which Paddock used to take his own life.
Between laptops, phones, drills, drill bits, tools, electrical wiring and a note with numbers signifying altitude, distance from the crowd and bullet drop, the room painted one clear picture: Paddock had planned this for some time.
Contrary to reports that Paddock may have planned to escape, the officers said that instead it appeared he may have planned to have a shootout with the police.
“The sheriff was saying the other day that it– it almost appeared as though he thought he would be able to get out of this, that he had an escape plan. Did you see any evidence of that?” CBS’ Bill Whitaker asked.
“From what I saw, it– I thought he was gonna– he– his plan might have been to shoot it out with us,” Officer Newton replied. “Because there was a rifle on a bipod near the door and just the amount of ammunition and weapons he had. He could of held us off for hours.”
You can read the full transcript of the interview here.