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He Froze While Vegas Shooter Wreaked Havoc. Now, His Fate

Police officer Cordell Hendrex was fired in March, per Vegas police
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2019 6:30 AM CDT
This Oct. 3, 2017, file photo shows the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, right, overlooking an outdoor festival grounds across the street, left, in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

(Newser) – A veteran Las Vegas cop who froze in the hallway of a casino-hotel as a gunman carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history has been fired from the force, police say. Officer Cordell Hendrex was fired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on March 20, a police rep said Tuesday. The department declined to answer further questions, saying the firing was in arbitration, per the AP. Police union President Steve Grammas said Hendrex was fired because of his actions during the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting that left 58 people dead and hundreds more injured. Hendrex, a Las Vegas officer since 2007, was teaching a rookie officer how to write trespassing tickets at the Mandalay Bay casino-hotel when their radios crackled with a report of a shooting and multiple casualties. Hendrex, the trainee, and three Mandalay Bay security officers ran toward an elevator and got off on the 31st floor of the hotel, a floor below where they believed the gunman was firing.

Body camera video showed Hendrex leading the group down a hallway before they hear the first of at least five separate volleys of gunfire in a three-minute span. "That's rapid fire," Hendrex says while shouting an expletive. The group stops and Hendrex uses his radio to tell dispatchers he can hear gunfire coming from above them. After they're advised to take cover from what seemed to be automatic gunfire, the group stands in the hallway for about five minutes before Hendrex leads them halfway up a stairwell to the 32nd floor. They remain there for at least 15 minutes, when the video clip ends. Hendrex acknowledged in a police report that he was "terrified with fear." "I froze right there in the middle of the hall for how long I can't say," he wrote in the report. Grammas told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the union doesn't believe the officer should have been fired and is fighting to get him reinstated. (Read more Las Vegas shooting stories.)

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