A Las Vegas police officer who ‘froze with fear’ on his way to Stephen Paddock’s door as he rained down bullets on concert-goers from the Mandalay Hotel has been fired.
The police department confirmed yesterday veteran officer Cordell Hendrex was fired in March, with a union chief saying it was because of his actions during the October 1, 2017 shooting.
Police union president Steve Grammas told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the union does not believe the officer should have been fired and is fighting to get him reinstated.
Hendrex, who served for 11 years in the force, was captured on bodycam footage waiting for four-and-a-half minutes on the 31st floor of the Vegas Strip hotel as the gunman fired from the floor above.
Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 400 during the deadliest mass shooting in US history, before killing himself as officers stormed his room.
Hendrex acknowledged being ‘terrified with fear’ in a written police report submitted in the days after the shooting, which took place on October 1, 2017.
‘I froze right there in the middle of the hall for how long I can’t say,’ he wrote.
Video shows Hendrex waiting on the 31st floor before going to the 32nd floor where he waits for 15 minutes before the video ends.
Hendrex is first seen teaching rookie Officer Elif Varsin to write trespassing tickets for two women in a Mandalay Bay hotel security office.
Amid radio reports of ongoing shooting and ‘multiple casualties,’ Hendrex, Varsin and three Mandalay Bay security officers run to an elevator talking about a shooter on the 32nd floor.
They get off on the 31st floor, though the reason they did so has not been explained.
In the footage, Hendrex leads Varsin and the security guards, each with handguns drawn, out of the elevator and down a 31st floor hallway. They hear the first of at least five separate volleys of rapid gunfire during a three-minute span.
‘Holy s***. That’s rapid fire,’ Hendrex says. The group stops.
‘I’m inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor, we can hear it above us,’ Hendrex says over his police radio.
‘Just be advised it is automatic fire, fully automatic fire from an elevated position,’ a radio voice says. ‘Take cover.’
Paddock, fired barrages for about 10 minutes from 32nd floor windows into the open-air Route 91 Harvest Festival concert across Las Vegas Boulevard.
Hendrex wrote: ‘I remember thinking that I had myself, my day 2 trainee and three security managers.
‘Between the 5 of us only I and Officer Varsin were wearing body armor and all of us were armed with a handgun each.’
‘The shooting stopped and all I could think was to stop the shooter or shooters from … escaping,’ he said.
It is not clear if Hendrex reached the 32nd floor stairwell door near the shooter’s room that had been sealed shut.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Officer Larry Hadfield confirmed Tuesday night that Officer Cordell Hendrex was fired March 20.
Hadfield did not offer additional details or answer questions regarding an internal review of the actions of Hendrex and other officers that night.
A phone call to a publicly listed number for Hendrex was not answered Tuesday night.
News of Hendrex’s firing comes on the heels of the firing of four police officers in Florida as a result of their inaction to the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where a gunman killed 17 people.