He came closer than anyone to Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock during what was to become the worst mass shooting in modern US history earlier this month, but 25-year-old hotel security guard Jesus Campos has not spoken publicly until now.
Campos was shot in the leg as he walked past Paddock’s suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort from where the 64-year-old gunman was raining bullets onto a music festival below on October 1.
His call to police was what alerted them to Paddock’s location. But, in the wake of the massacre that left 58 dead and hundreds injured, Campos has dodged the press, putting signs up at his house that read “no trespassing” and “no media on property”.
Today, Campos gave his first and (likely) only media interview with Ellen Degeneres.
In a preview of the talk, released by the Las Vegas Review Journal, Campos explains how he came to be outside Paddock’s hotel room on the night of the shooting.
He was on the stairwell going from the 31st to the 32nd floor, responding to an alert that a fire escape door was held ajar – a possible escape tactic set up by Paddock.
Instead, he came across a door that was blocked and wouldn’t open. He re-routed through a hallway and called security, requesting the help of an engineer.
To reach the 32nd floor, he pushed through a heavy door that made a loud sound – it was this Campos believes that alerted Paddock to his presence.
At first, he thought the sound of gunfire was drilling, that there was work being done in one of the suites.
“I was walking down and heard rapid fire,” he said. “And at first I took cover. 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.”
Instead of telling the dispatcher of his own injury, Campos notified security to contact police.
“And I was going to say that I was hit, but I got on my cellphone just to clear radio traffic so they could coordinate the rest of the call.”
Tomorrow, the first people to encounter the Las Vegas shooter are here – security guard Jesus Campos and building engineer Stephen Schuck. pic.twitter.com/dDmjzN6xBx
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 18, 2017