Concert Shooter Was ‘Below Everyone’s Radar’

Joseph L. Giacalone
Professor, Criminology, John Jay School of Criminal Justice

The worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history raises tough questions about how to guard against attacks on open crowds – and puts more responsibility on the crowd itself to look out for threats and escape routes in any public setting, former NYPD Detective Sergeant Joseph Giacalone told The Cipher Brief.

“Every time you go to a venue, you’re going to have to look for emergency exits. Unfortunately, that’s the mindset you have to be in now,” Giacalone said. “When you’re doing your security plans for major events, you’re going to have to go to the surrounding areas that are in sight and sound of your venue.”

At least 59 people are dead and more than 500 injured at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday night. The shooter, identified by authorities as Stephen Paddock, 64, took his own life after the massacre. Paddock fired into the concert crowd from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel.

The hotel was about a half a mile away from the concert. Concertgoers were likely checked or scanned on the way in, but apparently no one was thinking about an attack from above. Giacalone, now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that’s a siren to law enforcement that may well change the way police ensure security at future events.

Giacalone told The Cipher Brief that the massacre also presented a challenge for any law enforcement agency trying to sniff out threats before they happen. In this case, Paddock left no obvious trail.

“Here’s the problem. Every other incident we’ve had before this there’s been a manifesto left online. I haven’t seen or heard about any of his social media dealings,” Giacalone said. “From an intelligence stand point, he was below everyone’s radar.”

Below is the full interview with Giacalone.

Wilson Dizard is a national security editor at The Cipher Brief. Follow him on Twitter @willdizard.

The Author is Joseph L. Giacalone

Joseph L. Giacalone is a retired NYPD Detective Sergeant who held many prestigious positions during his more than 20 year career. Most of his career was dedicated to conducting and supervising major criminal investigations. Joe was the Executive Officer of the 110th Precinct Detective Squad in Queens and the Commanding Officer of the Bronx Cold Case Squad. He was responsible for managing thousands of cold case homicides and missing persons cases.

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