SAN JOSE (KRON) — Despite training for their response to the very thing that happened in Las Vegas Monday night, the odds were against a SWAT team from getting to that shooter before the damage was done.
KRON4’s Rob Fladeboe got a former Bay Area first responder to weigh in on the challenges they faced last night.
KRON4 asked retired San Mateo County Sheriff SWAT team member Mark Wyss to put himself in the shoes of Las Vegas Metro police Monday night.
Before they could do the shooter, the Las Vegas SWAT team had to cover their approach to the building.
They had to be sure they knew exactly where the threat was coming from and whether there might be more than one shooter.
“Once they were in the building, they had to work their way up and be aware of possible booby traps or devices that could slow them down to allow more time for the shooter to perform his carnage,” former SWAT team member Mark Wyss said.
Returning fire from the ground was not an option, says Wyss, because of the risk to others inside the hotel and the fact that the shooter appeared to have been firing from two different windows amid utter chaos on the ground.
“First responders and cops on the street were trying to manage that chaos and getting people to safe places and not knowing where the fire was coming from,” Wyss said. “They were doing the best they could.”
Wyss estimates the Vegas SWAT team made it to the gunman’s room in about 20 minutes.
He says that his and other SWAT teams, especially those in big cities, routinely train for a gunman in a high-rise but concedes there is not much they can do when the shooter has such an advantage.
“It’s not the first time we’ve seen something like this where someone not in their right mind takes to the high ground and wants to do damage,” Wyss said. “We can learn from this. We can get better but I can’t think of a way we’re going to eliminate it.”
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