In a segment set for broadcast on Wednesday, Jesus Campos described how he was called to check on an open door near Paddock’s suite on the 32nd floor of the hotel and casino, and how he was struck by gunfire moments before the shooter unleashed a fusillade of bullets on a crowd of concertgoers below.
“As I was walking down, I heard rapid fire, and at first I took cover,” Campos said. “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.”
Excerpts from the show were first published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Campos’s remarks didn’t deviate from what police and hotel officials have said publicly about the Oct. 1 attack, which left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured, but did offer a clear narrative about what Campos experienced that night.
The 25-year-old has been the subject of intense intrigue in the weeks since he was revealed as the first person to confront Paddock and report the shooting. Contradictory statements from police and hotel officials about when he arrived at the gunman’s room raised questions about the speed of the response from law enforcement and stoked conspiracy theories about the attack.
Police initially said Campos was shot at 9:59 p.m., several minutes before Paddock started firing from the smashed-out windows of his suite. Following pushback from Mandalay Bay’s owners, police amended the timeline, saying Campos had first arrived on the floor at 9:59 p.m. but wasn’t shot until roughly 10:05 p.m., about the time the mass shooting began. The first law enforcement officers arrived at 10:17 p.m., according to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
Campos drew more attention last week when, without explanation, he skipped out on previously scheduled television interviews with Fox News and four other outlets, and fell out of contact with the Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America union, which was helping him coordinate the appearances. He had posted signs outside his home reading “no trespassing” and “no media on property,” according to the Review-Journal.
Various news reports referred to him as “missing” and “vanished,” creating an air of mystery around a crucial witness to the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. In the video, he did not explain why he chose the DeGeneres show to tell his long-awaited story as opposed to all the other shows vying for the first interview.
Campos appeared nervous as he recounted the sequence of events that led him to Paddock’s room. He was joined on the show by Stephen Schuck, a building engineer who was on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay with him during the shooting. Campos spoke softly, avoided looking at the studio audience, and leaned forward in his seat as Schuck patted him on the back during some of his responses.
Clad in a gray suit and tie, Campos said he was on the 31st floor when he got a radio call to check on a door that had been left ajar near Paddock’s room on the 32nd floor. As he climbed the stairwell, he found that another door had been jammed shut with brackets, he said.
Eventually he got onto the shooter’s floor using a different route. Schuck was sent to meet him to inspect the problem.
Around that time, Campos heard what he assumed were drilling sounds. As he walked down the hallway, he seemed to catch Paddock’s attention, he said. That’s when the gunfire started — Campos said he believed it was coming from behind Paddock’s door. “I don’t know how he was shooting but he shot out,” he said.
One of Paddock’s bullets hit Campos in the leg. Rather than using his radio to say that he was wounded, he used his cellphone, “just to clear radio traffic so they could coordinate the rest of the call,” he said.
According to Campos, a female guest came out of another room. “I told her to go back inside, it wasn’t safe,” he said.
Schuck, the building engineer, said he had just rounded the corner when he noticed Campos and started to hear the gunfire. At first he thought it was a jackhammer, he said, but knew that crews wouldn’t be working that late at night.
Campos “leaned out and he said, ‘Take cover! Take cover!’ and yelled at me,” Schuck recalled. “Within milliseconds, if he didn’t say that I would have got hit.”
Schuck described how the two of them remained pinned in the hallway as Paddock fired, saying he could “feel the pressure” of bullets flying past his head.
Both men said they were still rattled by the experience. “I’m doing better each day,” Campos said, “just healing mentally and physically.”
He thanked law enforcement officers and other first responders, and the community as a whole, for coming together “to help that night even in the darkest hour.
DeGeneres praised Campos as a “hero” and said he had saved Schuck’s life and the life of the hotel guest. She presented them both with gifts: For Schuck, tickets to meet and watch the Indianapolis Colts; for Campos, season tickets to the Oakland Raiders when they make their planned move to Las Vegas.
When DeGeneres suggested that Campos’s appearance on her show would be his only public comment on the attack, Campos nodded in agreement.