Las Vegas Shooting Could Have Been So Much Worse If Not For An Unarmed Guard
True to Mr. Rogers' sage advice, after a tragedy, we should all look for the helpers to remind us of the good in people. And in the wake of the Oct. 1 shooting in Las Vegas — which left at least 59 dead, and hundreds more injured — The Daily Beast reported on an extraordinary helper. Unarmed Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos tracked down the shooter and helped lead police and the SWAT team to his location, likely preventing more senseless deaths in the process.
It's one of many extraordinary examples of people putting themselves in harm's way to help others during the deadliest shooting in modern American history.
Campos' heroic actions likely prevented more deaths, according to The Daily Beast, who first reported on his story. After the shooting began shortly after 10 p.m. local time, Campos, an unarmed security guard at the hotel where the shooter holed up, went searching for the source of the gunfire. When he found it in a room on the 32nd floor, he tried opening the door — and was shot in the leg.
Campos then reportedly radioed casino dispatch, a call which led the police to the shooter's location. A GoFundMe campaign has been created for Campos.
On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters, “We received information via their dispatch center ... that helped us locate where this individual was sequestered." Police found the shooter dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
There's no telling how long it would have taken for police to find the shooter without Campos' efforts. He almost certainly saved untold numbers of lives on Sunday — all with just a nightstick, according to Dave Hickey, president of the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America, the union which represents Campos.
Hickey told The Daily Beast that people like Campos deserve more recognition.
I think we need to recognize the position that these officers hold. Security professionals in those kind of venues — whether it’s a bank or a hotel or Disney World — I’m telling you that I don’t think that our officers are recognized enough for the valuable role that they play in protecting property, people and even the nation. [...]
We just want to make sure that Mr. Campos and all of our officers are recognized for what they do every day, which is protect people.
Elite Daily has reached out to Hickey for further comment, but did not hear back by time of publication.
Campos is reportedly still in the hospital, bullet still in his right leg. While he was well enough to attempt to leave the other day, staff kept him there to monitor his injury and so police and other officials could interview him about his experience. The bullet will be removed at later date, according to Hickey.
Campos isn't the only hero who helped save lives that night.
Former Marine Taylor Winston, who was present at the country music festival that was targeted, stole a truck, drove back into gunfire, rescued injured individuals, and drove them to the hospital, according to CNN. When he ran from gunfire, he says, he told people to keep their heads down and helped people over the fence. Then he spotted a lot full of work trucks.
He took a gamble on the truck having its keys inside, and he was right. Winston used the truck to help wounded people escape — and his friends set up a makeshift hospital area at the venue. Winston went back for a second trip.
There are also numerous stories of individuals saving their partners and loved ones, and others who saved complete strangers.
And looking for the helpers goes beyond the night of the shooting.
Therapy dog nonprofits have stepped up and brought their canines to Las Vegas in droves — including an Illinois nonprofit that flew half a dozen golden retrievers out to Vegas — in order to comfort survivors, emergency responders, and residents feeling traumatized.
Extraordinary people like Campos and Winston helped save lives — but it's not enough.
According to CNN, Americans own more guns per capita than any other country in the world. America accounts for less than 5 percent of the world's population — but 31 percent of its mass shooters. Gun homicide rates are 25.2 times higher than in other high-income countries.
The Gun Violence Archive states that there have been 273 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2017 alone. (The Archive defines "mass shooting" as a shooting in which four or more people are shot in one incident.) According to The Guardian, there have been 1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days, resulting in 1,719 deaths and 6,510 injuries.
The bravery of individuals like Campos and Winston is not enough. We're lucky that in this instance, Campos was able to draw the shooter's attention away from the crowd and call in his location. But mass shootings don't happen in other countries like they do in the United States, and that's a problem heroics can't fix.
Despite the unwillingness of many politicians — including those who have received massive donations from the National Rifle Association — to consider gun control, something has to give. Or else we're going to be looking at a lot more Camposes and Winstons trying to do damage control in more painful, horrifying incidents.
Editor's note: This post has been updated to include the GoFundMe account made for Campos.