LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Metro Police confirm the termination of an officer seen hesitating during the 1 October shooting was news 8 News Now first told viewers about on Tuesday night. But on Wednesday, the police union spoke up to defend Officer Cordell Hendrex’s actions.
“At the time when Officer Hendrex was trained, they were trained that the only way you attack a bad guy like that would be through a 4-man element, nothing less,” said Steve Grammas, Las Vegas Police Protective Association.
According to the department, Hendrex was fired in March because of his performance of duties that night.
“He was terminated from our organization because we don’t believe he performed at the level that we trained him too,” said Undersheriff Kevin McMahill, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
However, the union said Hendrex followed protocol. The incident is currently a case under arbitration because Hendrex is fighting to get his job back.
“We train our officers in a variety of different ways, and we believe we provided the training to all of our officers, and we see that played out in many other body cams,” Undersheriff McMahill said. “In this particular case, particularly with the responsibility of having a trainee along with him, we didn’t believe that he met the standards of conduct for the organization.”
Body camera video released by Metro Police last year shows Hendrex, along with a trainee and a few armed hotel security guards go to the 31st floor of Mandalay Bay. And as the gunman unloads bullets on the floor above, Hendrex appears to hesitate.
“When he got there, that’s when he found out it was above him and he was sitting there making decisions on containment and what he needed to do on the floor there,” said Grammas. “We don’t just rush in to potentially add to a body count.”
Grammas commends Hendrex for his choice that night.
“He’s not a coward,” Grammas said. “He’s an officer; he’s a human being, that was in a situation with a very, very, violent encounter.”
In a written report Hendrex admits being terrified with fear in that moment, but he did end up containing a stairwell. A decision on the case is expected in the coming months.