Unarmed Security Guard Took On Las Vegas Killer Stephen Paddock

Jesus Campos found the mass murderer's location—and drew his fire—before cops or SWAT arrived.


Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Update: On October 9, 2017, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Sheriff Joe Lombardo amended previous statements to clarify that Jesus Campos was shot before Stephen Paddock opened fire on concert-goers. Campos remains credited with informing police of Paddock's location. Campos was was shot at 9:59 p.m. Lombardo said, and Paddock began firing on the crowd six minutes later. 

LAS VEGAS—Jesus Campos had no firearm when he found Stephen Paddock and approached his room on the 32rd floor of Mandalay Bay on Sunday night.

Paddock, who had rigged cameras in the hallway and on the peephole of the door, saw Campos coming and fired through the door, hitting him in the leg, said Dave Hickey, president of the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America. The union represents Campos and hundreds of security guards at Mandalay Bay.

When Campos was hit, he radioed casino dispatch and told them his location—and Paddock’s.

“We received information via their dispatch center… that helped us locate where this individual was sequestered,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters Tuesday.

When Campos first arrived on the 32nd floor, he did so by elevator because Paddock had somehow blocked stairwell doors leading to the hallway outside of his room, Hickey said.

He had come the floor to respond to an open door alarm, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said at a press conference on Friday, when Paddock shot Campos in the leg. McMahill praised Campos, and called for more recognition for the man who made it possible for police to located Paddock.

“I want to say today that I don't think we've a good enough job recognizing him and his actions and for that I apologize,” McMahill said. “I just want to take (a) moment and clear the record that he's an absolute hero.”

Police officers subsequently approached the room and were met with 200 rounds from Paddock, Lombardo said on Wednesday night. Police fell back until SWAT arrived.

Campos, wounded, stayed on the floor and even went door-to-door, clearing rooms with police, Lombardo said, until he was ordered to leave because he was wounded.

About an hour after Paddock quit firing, a SWAT team gained entry to the suite by blowing the doors off with explosives. Paddock was found dead inside from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Without Campos’ action, the mass murderer’s rampage that killed 58 people could have been even more deadly.

Hickey lauded Campos’ bravery on Wednesday afternoon.

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“I think we need to recognize the position that these officers hold,” Hickey said. “Security professionals in those kind of venues—whether it’s a bank or a hotel or Disney World—I’m telling you that I don’t think that our officers are recognized enough for the valuable role that they play in protecting property, people and even the nation.”

Campos was struck in the right leg where the bullet remains, Hickey said, and will be removed by surgery at a later date. Campos was well enough to try to leave the hospital not long after the shooting, but was kept there by staff and police who wanted to monitor his injury and interview him about his ordeal.

“We just want to make sure that Mr. Campos and all of our officers are recognized for what they do every day, which is protect people,” Hickey said.

On any given shift, 17 of 200 officers at the hotel complex are armed, Hickey said. Campos likely just had a nightstick, useless against a man who had a military-grade arsenal at his disposal.

This story has been updated with information from police about Campos' actions in finding Stephen Paddock's room. A previous version of the story incorrectly asserted that Campos knocked on Paddock's door.

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