Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos resurfaces on Ellen DeGeneres show
The Mandalay Bay security guard who was described as "missing" in recent news reports has turned up on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," where he taped his first public account of being wounded as he responded to Stephen Paddock's deadly shooting rampage in Las Vegas.
In a segment set for broadcast on Wednesday, Jesus Campos described how he was called to check on an open hallway door near Paddock's suite on the 32nd floor of the hotel and casino, and how he was struck by gunfire moments before the shooter unleashed a fusillade of bullets on a crowd of concertgoers below.
"As I was walking down, I heard rapid fire, and at first I took cover," Campos said. "I felt a burning sensation. I went to go lift my pant leg up and I saw the blood. That's when I called it in on my radio that shots have been fired."
Excerpts from the show were first published by the Las Vegas Journal-Review.
Campos has been the subject of intrigue in the weeks since he was revealed as the first person to confront Paddock and report the shooting, in which 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured. Contradictory statements from police and hotel officials about when he arrived at the gunman's room raised questions about the speed of the response from law enforcement and stoked conspiracy theories about the attack.
Police initially said Campos was shot at 9:59 p.m., several minutes before Paddock started firing from the windows of his suite. They changed the timeline following pushback from Mandalay Bay's owners, saying Campos had arrived on the floor at 9:59 p.m. but wasn't shot until about 10:05 p.m., about the time the mass shooting began. The first law enforcement officers arrived at 10:17 p.m., according to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
Campos drew more attention last week when, without explanation, he skipped out on television interviews with Fox News and four other outlets, and fell out of contact with the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America union, which was helping him coordinate the appearances.
Various news reports then referred to him as "missing" and "vanished," creating an air of mystery around a crucial witness to the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. He did not explain why he chose the DeGeneres show to tell his long-awaited story as opposed to all the other shows vying for the first interview.
In his interview, Campos appeared nervous as he recounted the sequence of events that led him to Paddock's room. He appeared with Stephen Schuck, a building engineer who was on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay with him during the shooting. Campos spoke softly, avoided looking at the studio audience, and leaned forward in his seat as Schuck patted him on the back during some of his responses.
Clad in a gray suit and tie, Campos recounted how he was on the 31st floor when he got a radio call to inspect a hallway door that had been left ajar near Paddock's room on the 32nd floor and arrived to find it jammed with brackets.
Eventually he got onto the shooter's floor using a different route, he said. Schuck was sent to meet him to inspect the problem.
Around that time, Campos heard what he "assumed were drilling sounds." As he walked down the hallway, he said, he seemed to catch the attention of Paddock, who had installed cameras outside his suite to see anyone coming.
That's when the gunfire started, Campos said. He told DeGeneres he believed Paddock was firing at him from behind his door. "I don't know how he was shooting but he shot out," he said.
Schuck, the building engineer, said he had just rounded the corner when he noticed Campos and started to hear the gunfire. At first he thought it was a jackhammer, he said, but knew that crews wouldn't be working that late at night.
Campos "leaned out and he said, 'Take cover! Take cover!' and yelled at me," Schuck recalled. "Within milliseconds, if he didn't say that I would have got hit."
Schuck described how the two of them were pinned there in the hallway as Paddock fired, saying he could "feel the pressure" of bullets flying past his head.
DeGeneres praised Campos as a "hero" and suggested his appearance on her show would be the only time would talk about the attack in public.
"You being shot in the leg saved so many people's lives," she said. "We just wanted to celebrate you."