For nearly 6 minutes, the police car became an ambulance. And a life hung in the balance
A woman with a gunshot wound to the head is loaded into a Las Vegas police car during a shooting rampage on Oct. 1 that resulted in the deaths of 58 people.
The police officer sees the woman with a gunshot wound to the head and decides to turn his squad car into an ambulance.
Amid the mass casualties, the choice seems clear.
The scene was among 23 videos released Wednesday by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department from the body cameras of officers as they responded to the largest shooting massacre in modern U.S. history.
The videos, along with more than 100 recordings of 911 calls, were part of the seventh release of police reports, victim interviews and other documentation related to the Oct. 1 killings.
In the footage of the police-car-turned-ambulance, the officer arrives amid sporadic bursts of gunfire as the lone killer, Stephen Paddock, fires from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino into the crowd at a country music festival.
Ultimately, he would kill 58 people and wound hundreds more.
The officer, who was not identified by the police department, loads his shotgun and begins directing people to take cover behind a building.
He asks: “What the ... is going on?”
About six minutes into the video, a man approaches and says he has a woman with a gunshot wound to the head. The officer decides instantly to take her to University Medical Center — about five miles away.
“Get her in! Get her in!” he yells, opening the car doors.
“Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!” says a man in the back seat with the victim.
“We’re on the way to UMC with a female with a gunshot wound to the head,” a different officer in the front passenger seat reports over the radio.
The engine rumbles as the car accelerates.
Seconds go by.
“You’re going to be OK,” the man in the back seat tells the wounded woman. “Keep breathing with me. Keep breathing with me.”
The car darts past traffic, past the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. The radio crackles with updates about more victims. There is talk about assembling strike teams to stop the shooter. Somebody asks that Interstate 15 be shut down for everybody except officers and medical units going to the hospitals.
The car whines as it passes the Excalibur Hotel and Casino and speeds toward the northbound ramp of the freeway.
“Put pressure on any wounds back there,” says the police officer.
“Keep breathing,” the man in back says. “We’re good, OK?”
Drivers heed the siren and flashing lights, but a line of brake lights ahead is not encouraging.
Then a path emerges.
“Try to hold her still back there,” the officer says.
The Bellagio Resort and Casino comes into view as the radio warns officers still outside Mandalay Bay to take cover. The squad car speeds up in the fast lane of I-15.
“Let’s go!” the man in the back yells.
“It’s OK,” he then says to the victim in a softer voice.
A voice on the radio says that there are more wounded at the concert.
“Be advised we are taking fire from a very high floor,” an officer at the scene of the shooting reports.
A motorcycle glides out of the squad car’s way as the Palace Station Hotel and Casino comes into focus.
It’s been three minutes since the drive began.
It’s quiet in the back seat. A man on the radio says a command post needs to be set up on Las Vegas Boulevard at Tropicana Avenue.
“We’re almost there man, hang on,” the police officer tells the man in the back seat.
“Hurry up,” the man replies.
The police radio reports — incorrectly, it turns out — there may be three shooters.
The cruiser maneuvers to the Charleston Boulevard exit.
“ETA?” the man in the back yells.
“One minute, man!” the officer tells him. “One minute!”
The officer in the passenger seat puts on gloves.
“Keep talking to her,” he tells the man in back.
The car passes the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino and orange construction cones.
“Make sure you’re doing chest compressions, man,” the officer says.
On the radio, an officer says he’s in the stairwell of the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay — the same floor as Paddock. The squad car speeds under a freeway overpass.
“Breathe, baby,” the man in back pleads.
“It’s right here man, hold on,” one of the officers says.
The car turns into the entrance to the hospital. A voice on the radio says to close down Frank Sinatra Drive.
One of the officers in the car calls in the approach to the hospital: “Possible 419” — Las Vegas police code for a dead body.
“Come on, come on,” the man in back says.
The car engine roars as the hospital lights get bigger. The car blows through a stop sign and turns left into a hospital entrance. A car door is flung open before the cruiser stops.
“Get her out. Ger her out,” a voice says.
“Hurry up!” wails the man who was in the back seat.
They carry the wounded woman — running toward the hospital doors. “Keep her neck stable,” one of the officers says.
“You’re OK, baby. You’re OK,” the man says.
“Open the door,” one officer yells.
It’s been roughly six minutes since the drive started.
The woman’s body is limp.
The image freezes. And the body camera footage ends.
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