Security expert: Las Vegas mass shooting is 'sort of a new scenario'

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The 64-year-old gunman who opened fired Sunday night from a Las Vegas high rise hotel room window into the crowd below at an outdoor music festival goes down in infamy for killing the most people in a mass shooting and using a tactic security experts hadn't seen before.

"So many casualties inflicted by one person, with so much heavy weaponry in a hotel room. This is sort of a new scenario," says Chris Swecker. "Soft targets is not new but inflicting so many casualties, so quickly by someone 64 years old and no one was watching."

The most recent count says more than 50 people died, and hundreds more were wounded.

Related: Deadliest shooting in U.S. history kills 58 in Las Vegas, NV

Swecker, a former Assistant Director for the Federal Bureau of Investigations, says first responders can train to respond to mass shootings but the key is preventing them.

"I just don't see how you prevent this from happening where you're surrounded by high buildings, especially hotels, where you don't run people through magnetometers when they check into the hotel," Swecker said. "You just don't have that kind of security setup, and I don't think it's ever going to happen in the near future."

Police departments across the country will try to learn from this latest shooting, but Swecker says the method of using a hotel room to shoot into a crowd will be difficult to prevent in the future because hotel security doesn't check bags and hotels don't have metal detectors.

"I don't see hotels running people through magnetometers and I don't think it will do any good. They're still going to go up the elevator without going through the desk and that's not what the hospitality industry is about. I just don't see it happening," Swecker said.

But is there anything outdoor concert venues can do to prevent a repeat of what happened in Las Vegas?

"They're only as good as the security around them in this scenario because you're surrounded by tall buildings. You're only as good as the security in those buildings or your own security you can do something about," Swecker pointed out. "You can check people's bags. He wouldn't have gotten those weapons into a venue itself so he thought it through. He planned it and was firing from outside the venue."

Swecker added, "Tactically, this is a very difficult scenario to prevent. You can respond to it - albeit ten minutes later - that was probably the best response we could probably hope for."

Swecker describes the shooting as "so deliberate, so methodical, so well planned out" and said the gunman gave a lot of thought to each step by "obviously sitting there for two days planning, setting up firing positions, loading his weapons, checking his weapons, buying enough ammunition to kill or injure more than 250 people."

Even the man's age is something new for mass shootings.

"[A] 64-year-old guy - not someone you would expect to be that robust and certainly not someone you would expect to be converted by a terrorist organization, for example – not where they do most of their recruiting on social media," Swecker said. "I don't want to make generalities, but that generation doesn't usually dwell on social media, so this one is very perplexing from an investigative standpoint. They'll have answers very quickly I think."

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