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UPDATED: Police officer fired after 1 October reinstated

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2020-03-13 12:38:13-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — MARCH 12 UPDATE: The police officer who was fired after his slow response during the 1 October mass shooting has been reinstated. Officer Cordell Hendrex won his lawsuit and will go back to work with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He will also receive back pay.

ORIGINAL STORY
A Las Vegas Metro Police Department officer was fired in March of 2019 and Las Vegas Police Protective Association President Steve Grammas says the officer, Cordell Hendrex, was terminated because the department believes he took to long when responding to the mass shooter on October 1, 2017.

A criminal investigation report details the timeline of the night.

At 10:05 p.m., the first shots were fired. Two minutes later, Hendrex and another officer, along with two hotel security officers, left the Mandalay Bay Security Office. The other officer was wearing a body camera and that video shows the path they took.

By 10:11, the group arrived to the 31st floor. The shooter was on the 32nd floor, and they can be heard making the decision to go one floor down while they're in the elevator.

"You want me to go to 31 and go through the stairwell?” said one of them while they were in the elevator going up.

They spent five minutes on the 31st floor, and for two of those minutes they hid in an alcove near a hotel room. Those are the moments in question.

After about two minutes, the body camera shows a cry for help over the scanners. Then, they moved toward the stairwell.

"We can’t worry about victims, we need to stop the shooter before we have more victims," could be heard in the video.

The four then went to the stairwell and tried to go to the 32nd floor, but the door was barred closed. They spent the remaining 17 minutes of the video in that stairwell.

Retired LVMPD sergeant Richard Strader explained the training all Clark County officers receive when learning how to respond to active shooter situations.

He said they're trained to wait until three to four officers, or an element, are there before looking for the active shooter.

In this situation, there were only two officers present who had gone through this training.

"Would I count them as an element? Absolutely not because they don’t have the tools that you have. They don’t have the communication that you have and they are not trained with you," said Strader.

However, Strader said he trusts LVMPD and believes they would not terminate an employee without justification.

"I’m sure they were trying to see, did his inaction contribute to the deaths of the people down on the road or down in the venue? And I would assume that they probably came to the conclusion and that’s why they did what they did," said Strader.

LVMPD released this statement:
The LVMPD’s Office of Public Information has received numerous inquiries regarding the employment status of Officer Cordell Hendrex. Hendrex was terminated from LVMPD effective March 20, 2019 for performance of his duties. This case is currently in arbitration and therefore no further comment will be made. Hendrex date of hire was May, 20, 2007. On 1 October he was assigned as a Field Training Officer at Convention Center Area Command.

Grammas says the union is fighting Hendrex's termination through an arbitration process. It's expected to take about 60 days, when a decision will come on if Hendrex will get his job back or not.