Las Vegas police fire officer who hesitated during mass shooting

Union does not believe the officer should have been fired and is fighting to get him reinstated


By Michelle L. Price and Michael Balsamo
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas police confirmed Tuesday that the department fired a veteran officer who froze in the hallway of a Las Vegas Strip hotel during a 2017 mass shooting as a gunman on the floor above opened fire on a country music festival.

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.

Police union president Steve Grammas told The Associated Press in an email that Hendrex had been fired because of his actions during the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting.

Hendrex acknowledged in a police report that he was "terrified with fear" as the gunman above killed 58 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

"I froze right there in the middle of the hall for how long I can't say," he wrote in the report.

Police body camera video released by the department shows Hendrex, along with a rookie officer and three hotel security officers, waiting in the hallway of the 31st floor in the Mandalay Bay casino-resort for about five minutes before moving to a stairwell leading to the 32nd floor, where the gunman was raining bullets onto the crowd above.

They remained in the stairwell for at least 15 minutes, when the video clip ends.

A phone call to a publicly listed number for Hendrex was not answered Tuesday night.

Grammas told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which first reported Hendrex's firing, that the union does not believe the officer should have been fired and is fighting to get him reinstated.

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.

 

Associated Press
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