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Questions persist about initial response to Vegas massacre

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By Brittany Martinez

ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) — The first report from a maintenance man that a gunman was firing down the hall of the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel was not relayed to Las Vegas police until after the gunman had already begun his deadly rampage on the concert audience below, according to a person who has reviewed the records and spoke to ABC News on the condition of confidentiality.

Officials estimate the hotel’s delay in reporting the incident in which a hotel security guard was shot lasted about six minutes. But in a statement, hotel officials say that timeline “may not be accurate.”

The new details of the moments before the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history came as the lawyer for one victim began asking the first uneasy questions as part of what is expected to be a rash of victims’ lawsuits focused on the initial response by Mandalay Bay casino officials.

“Was 911 called? The whole chain of command seemed to be broken down here,” said Mohammed “Mo” Aziz, a lawyer hired by shooting victim Paige Gasper. “For six minutes nothing happened, and then this criminal started shooting at innocent people.”

The lawyer’s questions Tuesday have put a new focus on the still-murky timeline for the moments leading up to the shooting. The shifting accounts from authorities first indicated a casino security guard was the last person to be shot before the shooter took his own life. Then they said he was the first to be injured. Now the sheriff says the timeline is being revised yet again.

Sources close to Mandalay Bay told ABC News Tuesday the response by casino staff was swift and saved lives. The first call from hotel, the sources said, did not go out to police until after the rampage was underway – about six minutes after the initial hallway confrontation. And officers did not reach the 32nd floor suite of retired commercial property owner and frequent gambler Stephen Paddock until after the shooting had stopped.

New audio recordings made public by the hotel’s corporate owner, MGM Resorts, capture the moments when a hotel maintenance man, Steve Schuck, called in the first report of trouble.

“Call the police,” Schuck tells hotel security. “Someone’s fired a gun up here. Someone’s fired a rifle on the 32nd floor down the hallway.”

But neither the police account of the ensuing moments nor publicly transmitted police radio traffic indicate when the hotel security office dialed 911.

Approximately six minutes after Schuck made the request for help from police, Paddock began pouring rifle fire on concertgoers down on the Route 91 country music festival, 32 floors below. Officers did not reach the 32nd floor until at least 18 minutes after security guard Jesus Campos was shot in the thigh, and they appeared to have no idea he had been wounded at all before finding him.

“They weren’t aware of him being shot until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator,” said Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo.

“We have a security officer also shot in the leg on the 32nd floor. He’s standing right by the elevator,” a Las Vegas Metro policeman radioed, in a recorded transmission 20 minutes after Campos was hit by Paddock’s gunfire.

Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts told reporters Monday that police are still studying the timeline, but he does not think the lag was long under the circumstances.

“I don’t think the delay, or the time lapse is that long — in my opinion,” Roberts said. “I think the security guard saved a lot of lives — he interrupted this guy and sped up his plan, in my opinion.”

In part, the response time may have been slowed by a decision to shut down the elevators, a move by hotel management described by Schuck in an NBC News interview. Some police had to climb an unknown number of flights of stairs carrying weapons and body armor.

At 10:16 p.m., an officer radioed his dispatch to “contact Mandalay Bay and have ’em shut down their elevators so he [the gunman] can’t get mobile and we can take the stairs and block all the stair exits.”

One officer was later heard on police radio traffic breathing heavily and announcing he’d made it up to the same level the gunfire was erupting from. “I’m in a stairwell on the 32nd floor,” he says in a hushed voice.

Sgt. Mike Quick, a retired Las Vegas SWAT team veteran, said the Mandalay Bay is a sprawling property, with a number of impediments. “That’s a 3,000-plus room casino hotel, I mean that’s a major resort eating up acres and acres of property. So just parking and getting through the front doors is going to be an exercise in time.”

Marshalling an elevator could have taken time, he said. But climbing the stairs was an “extreme challenge.”

MGM Resorts spokesperson Debra DeShong issued a statement Tuesday in response to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Paige Gasper.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


John Farrell out as Red Sox manager

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By Brittany Martinez

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(BOSTON) — After five seasons as manager for the Boston Red Sox, John Farrell is out of a job. Farrell lead the team to back to back division titles for the first time in franchise history but also consecutive first-round playoff elimination.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski announced Wednesday that Farrell was dismissed with one year left on his contract.

In a statement, Farrell thanked the Red Sox’s ownership group, the team’s front office and Boston’s coaches, players and fans.

“Despite an end to this season that we all wanted to be different, I am proud of this ball club and the resiliency shown,” Farrell said in the statement. “I have enjoyed every moment of this job — its peaks and its valleys. There are few, if any, positions in life that create so much passion on a daily basis.”

Farrell had a 432-378 record over his five-year tenure that included a World Series championship in 2013 and two last-place finishes. He is the only Red Sox manager to win three American League East crowns and ranks sixth on the club’s all-time wins list.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Sports News


Women collect Halloween costumes for kids affected by Harvey

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By Brittany Martinez

Becky Schmidt(KATY, Texas) — Becky Schmidt and Michelle Donahue did not know each other in August as Hurricane Harvey, the most powerful storm to hit Texas in over a decade, dumped rain and wind on their hometown of Katy, Texas.

Now the two, both mothers, speak multiple times a day as they work together to make sure children affected by Harvey have a chance to celebrate Halloween this year.

Schmidt, 35, and Donahue, 38, were introduced by a mutual friend last month when the friend realized they were both on their own working to collect Halloween costumes to donate to kids in need.

The pair have since together collected 1,200 costumes and counting. They have distributed nearly 1,000 of those costumes already to students at two public elementary schools in Katy.

They are holding a pop-up shop this weekend at a local hotel to both collect and distribute even more costumes.

“It was just something that we knew would bring joy to kids’ faces who have been devastated losing their homes,” said Donahue, who first got the idea to collect Halloween costumes from the youngest of her four children, her 10-year-old daughter.

“The kids’ parents are dealing with FEMA and relocating and Halloween hasn’t even crossed their minds,” Donahue, an assistant principal at a local junior high school, told ABC News. “Halloween costumes are expensive and one more financial burden.”

Harvey dumped more than 20 trillion gallons of rain across Texas and Louisiana. Some businesses and schools in Katy were closed for nearly two weeks due to the storm.

After the storm, both Donahue and Schmidt said they turned to collecting costumes when they were turned away from donating supplies like clothes and toiletries because of an overwhelming response.

“I thought, ‘Halloween will come sooner than we think it will so why not start collecting Halloween costumes,'” said Schmidt, the mother of a 5 and 7-year-old. “It’s just one expense that we wanted to help alleviate and create a sense of normalcy for the kids too.”

The pair spread their call for donated costumes through word of mouth and a Facebook page. They are calling their effort “Harvey Can’t Scare Away Halloween.”

Schmidt described the response as “overwhelming.” People from as far away as Michigan, where Schmidt has family and friends, have donated everything from brand new costumes to handmade costumes that are generations old.

“They’re just ecstatic,” Donahue said of the kids who have been able to pick out their costumes. “Some of them wear the costumes out because they don’t even want to take them off.”

She added, “They’re like kids again, which is our intent.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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