Sheriff breaks down in tears while praising officers' response to Las Vegas shooting

PHOTO: Clark Count Sheriff Joe Lombardo broke down in tears during a press conference Friday while praising some of his deputies for their response to the mass shooting on Oct. 1. PlayKTNV
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Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo broke down in tears Friday while praising the brave actions of three members of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1 that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more.

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Lombardo said that while "there's 1,000 heroes out there," he wanted to bring his attention to a "couple of key individuals" from the sheriff's office for their roles in the response to the shooting.

The sheriff began to cry after describing the wounds sustained by Officer Brady Cook from a single bullet. After Cook was struck by gunfire, causing a "substantial shoulder wound," it went through his bicep, into his chest and out of his back, Lombardo said.

PHOTO: Clark Count Sheriff Joe Lombardo broke down in tears during a press conference Friday while praising some of his deputies for their response to the mass shooting on Oct. 1. KTNV
Clark Count Sheriff Joe Lombardo broke down in tears during a press conference Friday while praising some of his deputies for their response to the mass shooting on Oct. 1.

Today, Cook asked Lombardo if he could return to work, the sheriff said. The day of the shooting marked Cook's second day on the job, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“This is what I signed up for,” Cook, 22, told the local newspaper. “I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

The night before the shooting, on his first day of the job, Cook had been assigned to monitor the Route 91 Harvest country music festival alongside his father, also a Las Vegas Metro police officer, according to the Review-Journal reported.

Lombardo said Friday that he believes that gunman Stephen Paddock targeted the officers as they arrived. Cook and his training officer were among the first to arrive on the scene.

"As the officers began to arrive via vehicles, it is readily apparent to me that he adjusted his fire and directed toward the police vehicles," Lombardo said.

PHOTO: Hundreds of people attend a vigil marking the one-week anniversary of the Oct. 1, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Oct. 8, 2017.Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun/Reuters
Hundreds of people attend a vigil marking the one-week anniversary of the Oct. 1, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Oct. 8, 2017.

In the "immediate aftermath of the shooting," one of Lombardo's sergeants saw the need for triage, the sheriff said. After setting it up, he remained calm and helped to triage at least 50 gunshot victims -- so many that they were required to use "anything they could to stop the bleeding" once they ran out of tourniquets.

Another officer, Samuel Whitworth, sustained a broken leg "during the melee in his attempt to evacuate victims," Lombardo said. Despite his injury, Whitworth stayed on the scene and provided security to medical personnel, the sheriff added.

Lombardo ended the press conference thanking the community for its support.

"I want to thank you for letting me be your sheriff, and Vegas strong," he said.

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