A good guy with a gun apparently stopped an active shooter in Las Vegas on Friday, almost certainly saving lives after a helmeted man opened fire with a rifle in a building lobby.
But you probably didn’t hear about it.
Normally, this type of defensive gun use would garner significant media attention and make national headlines. Entire news cycles were dedicated to covering gun owners who stopped mass shootings at an Indiana shopping mall and a Texas church.
Yet, despite undeniable evidence that an armed civilian successfully ended a serious incident in which a gunman was bent on violence, the mantra of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department so far has been: “Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along.”
Meanwhile, the mainstream media, including local news outlets, compliantly stopped asking questions.
Now, the public should be asking a whole new set of questions—namely, why would the government go out of its way to pretend that a verifiable defensive gun use never happened?
Here’s what we know.
Las Vegas police officers responded Friday afternoon to a report of “shots fired” at Turnberry Towers, a luxury high-rise condominium complex just blocks away from the Las Vegas Strip.
Initial media reports included limited information: Two people were involved in a shooting, one of whom had sustained a gunshot wound. Nothing indicated that the incident was anything but a run-of-the-mill criminal altercation involving a firearm.
Full of language that best can be described as intentionally vague, these news reports informed the public that a “gunman” had fired shots into a glass entranceway before he was “stopped” by the “heroic” efforts of an unnamed employee.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department announced Friday that rumors of an active shooter were incorrect and that there was no threat to the public.
Since January, the department has been under the command of Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill, who won the office in a nonpartisan election. In November, his two-term predecessor as sheriff and police chief, Joe Lombardo, was elected Nevada governor as a Republican.
Interestingly, neither police nor news reporters specifically informed the public of how, exactly, this hero employee stopped the man who had fired the rifle, or clarified whether the employee or that gunman, or someone else, was wounded.
Did the employee tackle the gunman and get shot in the process? Did he talk the gunman down after a personal dispute turned violent? Did he, like the biblical Sampson, invoke divine intervention and crush the gunman with a feat of supernatural strength?
Apparently, Las Vegas police either didn’t know the facts or didn’t want the public to know them.
The story might have died there had it not been for social media.
Over the weekend, users of various social media platforms began sharing surveillance footage that appears to be from a Turnberry Towers lobby, showing a man clad in a helmet and wielding what looks like an M4 pattern rifle.
While walking from inside the lobby toward a set of double glass doors leading outside, and still unseen, he fires his rifle several times, shattering the glass of the first set of doors and comes into view as he makes his way through the opening. As the man with the rifle rushes toward and opens a glass door, someone out of the camera’s view fires several rounds, striking him at least once and causing him to collapse outside.
Although this video had been shared by some significant social media accounts and viewed millions of times, not a single major media outlet had picked it up as of Tuesday morning. And, stunningly, neither Las Vegas police nor any major media outlet had bothered to clarify the initial reports publicly.
But the logic is easy to follow.
One person was wounded by gunfire—the gunman. An employee of the condo apparently acted heroically—by shooting the gunman.
Yes, many missing pieces are certainly of interest. Social media is full of anonymous accounts from persons identified as residents of Turnberry Towers, many giving conflicting accounts.
Was the employee a security guard, or a mailroom “receiving” worker who happened to be armed? Did he have a concealed carry permit? Was the gunman a resident? Did he have an argument with other employees or residents before firing the rifle?
As of now, such details have not been fleshed out and confirmed.
That alone should raise red flags. After all, it’s been more than four days since this shooting. Normally, after that amount of time, law enforcement either has provided answers to such questions, or the media is demanding that such answers be provided.
But, curiously, even when pressed to clarify details that are now public knowledge, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department simply refused.
When Daily Signal reporter Fred Lucas reached out Monday to the Police Department—three full days after the shooting—to request confirmation that an employee of the condo complex shot a gunman, a public information officer told him to file a Freedom of Information Act request.
That’s basically the government’s way of saying, “Sue me for it.”
Now, do police investigations take time? Absolutely. Are there reasons that police might want to protect the identity of the employee? Of course. But that’s a far cry from intentionally underselling the basic factual reality of what happened (an armed civilian intervention) and then declining to provide relevant, timely updates without a court order.
Barring some dramatic plot twist where, say, the “employee” is really an undercover federal agent whose identity can’t be blown for national security purposes, the most obvious reason to downplay an armed civilian intervention is that it doesn’t fit the acceptable government narrative. That narrative, sadly, often is that civilians should just call police and be good witnesses, because they have no business trying to defend themselves with firearms.
Shortly after The Daily Signal published its news story Tuesday evening reporting that the Police Department declined to release key details of the shooting, a Las Vegas news outlet finally did a follow-up story based on information apparently acquired by combing through court filings and not from police.
KLAS-TV/8 News Now identified the wounded rifleman as Andrew Warrender, 32, and reported that documents show prosecutors charged him with attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and illegally discharging a gun. Warrender was being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center, KLAS reported.
The TV station also reported that the hero employee isn’t a security guard but a worker in the condo’s “receiving department.”
If that report is correct, his success in fending off an armed attacker highlights the efficacy of the right to keep and bear arms for ordinary civilians. And even if he is a security guard, as another news report Wednesday says, his quick actions provide support for increasing armed security in sensitive places such as schools or churches as an effective means of addressing active shooters.
In other words, this employee’s actions reinforce the “good guy with a gun” narrative. And it’s likely that when reporters and others refuse to ask the obvious questions about such events, it’s because the answers are inconvenient. They’d rather not highlight the reality that armed civilians routinely rely on their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves and others successfully.
It wouldn’t be the first time that an official narrative intentionally or recklessly sought to undermine that narrative.
As researcher John Lott pointed out in a 2021 analysis, the FBI’s official reports on active shooters exclude or mischaracterize many cases in which armed civilians successfully intervene, leading many gun control activists to insist wrongly that “good guys with guns” rarely make a difference in active shootings.
And, just last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caved to pressure from gun control activists and eliminated from its website almost all information on the prevalence of defensive gun use by civilians.
Hopefully, as this video of this shooting continues to make its way through social media, it will put public pressure on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department to confirm what we now already know—that a civilian once again stopped an active shooter.
And as the Police Department prepares to answer more questions about this shooting, it also should prepare to answer questions about why, exactly, it tried so hard to make the public believe the confrontation never happened in the first place.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal