I-Team: Metro's active shooter training meant a quick response

LAS VEGAS - Sheriff Joe Lombardo unveiled a revised timeline of Sunday's deadly shooting incident. The gunfire erupted at 10:05 p.m. and the last shots were fired 10 minutes later.

The sheriff said Metro officers arrived on the 32nd floor by 10:17 p.m., just 12 minutes after the shooting began. How were offices able to get there so quickly?

Las Vegas has never had an incident like this one, but it has been planning for the unthinkable for a long time.

As the I-Team reported on Monday, everyone in law enforcement here has been expecting some kind of horrific attack, by terrorists or others, because Las Vegas is and will always be a high-profile target.

Metro has been preparing for the worst, and the results were evident Sunday night.

"Think about that. The first minute the police are aware of shots being fired was at 10:08, and it stops at 10:19. That's a remarkable response by this police department," said Metro Undersheriff Kevin McMahill.

It wasn't luck that led to such a quick response. It was the result of several years of hard training and meticulous planning. 

Almost six years ago, Metro quietly instituted the so-called MACTAC approach to active shooter scenarios. In dramatic training exercises, every officer on the force became part of the plan to aggressively identify and neutralize a wide variety of threats, from a lone wolf shooter in a shopping mall, or a sniper on the Stratosphere to a coordinated attack by a terrorist militia.

Plans were developed for how to deal with multiple threat scenarios at every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and every other potential target in the valley. The plan was kicked into high gear, in part, by a deadly assault in Mumbai, India but the department continued to adapt its plan.

"So, don't be comfortable thinking we were going to know about it. We're going to do everything we can to know about it but Brussels probably didn't have that," said Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Metro.

That was Lombardo last year, in the wake of the terror attacks in Belgium. Each incident around the world was studied and absorbed into Metro's MACTAC plans including the Paris massacre and vehicle attacks in Spain earlier this year. The sheriff eerily noted that it could be very difficult to detect a lone killer armed with a diabolical plan.

"Ground zero is where you live and work," he said in April 2017. "You feel that pain. It doesn't have to be a big event."

The MACTAC approach is a blueprint for quick action, and at Mandalay Bay, it worked. 

"I want to say kudos to those officers who got together and said this is what we trained for, active shooter, and we are putting en element together. Let's go engage this individual and go locate him. That's what we did," Sheriff Lombardo said.

Metro's SWAT team did not enter the hotel suite until more than an hour after the shooting began. However, the shooting stopped about 10 minutes after it began. The reasons for that are not yet clear.

Both Sheriff Lombardo and the Las Vegas FBI special agent in charge urged the public to take rumors with a grain of salt. Various people are using this tragedy to promote their own personal or political agendas.