The Police Officer Who "Froze" For 5 Minutes In A Hallway During The Las Vegas Massacre Has Been Fired
Officer Cordell Hendrex was fired after police released video showing him taking cover in a hotel hallway while the gunman continued to fire onto a crowd.
A Las Vegas police officer who "froze" in the middle of a hotel hallway while a gunman rained bullets on the Route 91 Harvest Festival, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more in the 2017 massacre, has been fired, officials confirmed Wednesday.
For nearly five minutes, body camera footage showed Officer Cordell Hendrex and security staff at Mandalay Bay taking cover in a hallway as the shooter continued to fire on concertgoers. According to police, the gunman fired hundreds of rounds in a span of 10 minutes.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police confirmed Hendrex was terminated from his position with the department on March 20 "for performance of his duties."
The decision came nearly a year and a half after the Oct. 1, 2017, massacre that marked the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Steven Grammas, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, confirmed Hendrex was fired over his decision to remain in the hallway, but called the termination "political cover" for the department since the decision didn't come until the body camera video was released publicly and brought media attention.
"[The department] knew about the video and his statements long before they went through the process to fire him," Grammas said.
In body camera footage released last year, Hendrex and hotel security were seen walking through a hotel hallway with handguns drawn as hundreds of shots ring out.
"Holy shit, that's rapid fire," someone was heard saying.
"Oh my god!" Hendrex replied.
In the video, Hendrex radios his location to dispatch officers, informing them that the source of the gunfire was coming from the floor above them. The group was seen headed toward a stairway until one said, "Back the fuck up," and the men instead took cover near doors to hotel suites.
In his incident report, Hendrex wrote that he had been "terrified with fear," the moment he heard what was believed to have been automatic gunfire.
"I know I hesitated and I remember being terrified with fear and I think that I froze right there in the middle of the hall for how long I can't say," he wrote, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported at the time.
Hendrex was accompanied by an officer trainee on his first day with the police department, Grammas said.
As the group waited in the hallway, police officers throughout the area were heard reporting multiple shooting victims at the festival.
Hendrex had been with the department for 12 years. Grammas said the police union opposed his firing and would be backing the officer in arbitration with the department.
"Our board was on his side when looking at the totality of the event," he said. "He couldn't have gone into that room with just himself and his trainee."
"It wasn't until it got media attention that they relieved him of duty," Grammas said.
Before his firing in March, he said, Hendrex continued to be assigned to the field and was supervising trainees.
Hendrex's attorney representing him in arbitration could not be immediately reached for comment.