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Here’s How Police Found the Las Vegas Shooter So Quickly

When a shooter began firing Sunday night at concertgoers at the Route 91 Festival, Las Vegas police could see the gunfire coming from the Mandalay Bay Hotel, but they weren’t sure of his exact location. Within 20 minutes, though, the gunman was dead. How did they manage to locate him so quickly?

It wasn’t a room by room search or even a notification from another guest. It was the smoke alarm in his hotel room.

Randy Sutton, a retired Las Vegas police lieutenant, tells the Washington Post that the small bits of smoke that emerge every time a round is fired, quickly reached a point that set off the in-room smoke detector.

Vegas casinos, especially ones as large as Mandalay Bay, which spans 135,000 feet and has 3,309 rooms, can quickly pinpoint where problems are occurring, which led police to the shooter’s 32nd floor room.

The shooter took his own life before police breached the door, according to Las Vegas Police officials. It’s unknown at this point if he had additional ammunition in the room with him.

If so, and had police not known exactly where to find him, the death and injured toll from the concert could easily have climbed higher.