“We’ve got shots fired,” the police officer barks into his radio. “Route 91.” “Automatic firearm.”
“It’s coming from upstairs, Mandalay Bay,” shouts another. “I see the shots coming from Mandalay Bay, halfway up!”
These police scanner recordings, published online by Broadcastify, capture the terror as it unfolded Sunday night in Las Vegas, where a gunman opened fire on a country music festival from a sniper’s nest in a 32nd-floor hotel room. Fifty-nine people were killed, and more than 500 were injured, before the shooter killed himself as police converged on his room. Some of the recordings are garbled or laden with police jargon, but even when the words are unintelligible, fear in their voices is clear.
“We have an active shooter! We have an active shooter inside the fairgrounds!” a police officer says as the shooting begins. Over the next few minutes, officers coordinate with dispatchers, trying to figure out what is going on.
“Control this is CP. Just advising there are people down on stage left,” an officer reports from the scene.
“I now have a 415A (assault and battery with a gun) coming in,” a dispatcher states, seemingly talking about a 911 call. “There is an open line with a female saying there is a shooting.”
“Control that is correct, shots fired with Mandalay Bay,” the officer responds. “There are many people down, stage left. Just be advised.”
Over the next minute, at least four more officers can be heard on the radio recordings, trying to coordinate some sort of response. There appears to be general confusion over the source of gunfire, with at least some officers unaware the shooter is above them.
“CT I need eyes,” and officer asks. “Somebody in the CT, can you tell me where it is coming from?”
“Somewhere in Mandalay Bay,” another officer responds. “It’s at the intersection, that’s where it sounds like. It’s that close.”
“We are heading to Mandalay Bay!”
“It sounded like an elevated position …”
“I’m going to form a strike team at Mandalay Bay and the boulevard. I need five officers on me.”
A single officer has entered the building where the shooter is firing and reports back to the scanner.
“I’m inside the Mandalay Bay on the 31st floor. I can hear the gunfire coming from one floor ahead, one floor above us.”
Someone replies with caution: “Just be advised it is automatic fire, fully automatic fire from a elevated position. Take cover.”
“It is true, it is fully automatic fire. I’m right below it.”
Seconds later, a new voice enters the fray. He sounds horrified.
“We have multiple casualties!” the man shouts. “GSWs (gunshot wounds) in the medical tent! Multiple casualties!”
Gunfire can be heard in the background. A man’s voice cuts in over the sound of popping bullets.
“Control, we need all units. … He’s shooting this way.”
Police on scene jump in after one another, reporting the details of more gunshot victims.
“Control six, I have a gunshot victim at gate four, in the leg. … I also have another female, she’s been shot, looks like in the mouth.”
Some officers find themselves in the path of gunfire.
“We’ve got about 40 to 50 people pinned against this wall. We’re taking gunfire. It’s going right over our heads.”
Another officer cuts in with a shrill voice: “We can’t worry about the victims, we need to stop the shooter before we get more victims! Does anybody have eyes on this shooter?”
“We have multiple, multiple victims in the medical tent! We have one shot in the head!”
Someone in the command center tries to keep the panicking officers calm.
“Officers, please stay calm. Just relax. We’re trying to get this set up.”
Police continue coordinating their approach to the hotel.
“Control, see if we can contact Mandalay Bay and have them shut down their elevators so he can’t get mobile and so we can take the stairs and block all the stair exits.”
A SWAT team is deployed to the casino where the shooter is still firing. Officers on the scene begin directing the injured to a nearby church. Medics are en route to help victims.
“Be advised, we have several drunk civilians who are jumping the gate trying to run towards gunfire.”
The officer closest to the shooter chimes in again: “I’m on the 32nd floor.”
“We’ll see if we can meet you there.”
“I have a team of four. We’re going to make entry (and) see if we can make contact with the suspect.”
Officers on the scene ask the control center to help shut down the boulevard that is in the line of gunfire. Voices on the radio warn that any officers driving on the Boulevard will be targets.
“It’s been a while since we’ve heard any shots. Does anybody have eyes on the shooter?”
“We have the Mandalay Bay locked down.”
“Control, I’ve got two victims at gate six, gunshot wounds to the chest and head. We need immediate medical.”
Officers on the scene begin interviewing witnesses, who describe the rapid gunfire and bodies dropping. They begin creating a perimeter around the concert venue.
The officer on the 32nd floor radios in again, in a hushed tone.
“I’m on the 32nd floor. The room is gonna be 135.”
Someone interrupts: “We’ve got one shot with a shoulder wound to the right shoulder.”
“It’s room 135 on the 32nd floor. I need SWAT.”
A five-man team of officers has surrounded the church to protect the injured who are waiting inside for medical treatment. Medics have not yet arrived.
A four-person SWAT team begins closing in on the shooter. They arrive on the 32nd floor and another four officers are on their way.
“We have a security officer also shot in the leg on the 32nd floor,” someone from SWAT says. “He’s standing right by the elevator.”
“He shot down the hallway and hit a security guard,” says another.
“We’ll also need the 29th floor. It sounds like it’s confirmed that there are at least two shooters with fully automatic weapons.” (Editor's note: There was only one shooter on the scene, later identified as Stephen Paddock).
“Let’s see if we can get cameras watching that 29th and 32nd floor.”
More reports start coming in from the ground. Police create a temporary “triage area” on the street for victims.
“All units, make sure your vehicles are locked. (People) are trying to grab shotguns.”
“Multiple casualties stage right on the concert floor.”
“I’ve got an officer with a gunshot wound to the head.”
To listen to the full recording, visit broadcastify.com.