Witnesses: Exits at Las Vegas Concert Were Suddenly Blocked Prior to Shooting, Creating Kill Zone
Witnesses at last week's Las Vegas shooting, including one who was wounded, are saying that many emergency exits which would normally be open as required by strict laws on emergency egress at concert venues, were suddenly blocked by chain link fence on the night of the shooting, even though they were open on previous concert nights . One witness, Rocky Palermo, who was wounded in the pelvis, said that at 10 pm all exits on Las Vegas Boulevard where blocked with chain link fencing. Eight minutes later, the shooting started.
Palermo, who had been previously been interviewed by CNN about his injuries, said:
"Every other night at the concert, everybody kind of exited out of Las Vegas Boulevard, that was standard, that was routine to get out of the concert and go down and go to the next casino. Well at ten o'clock they closed every exit on Las Vegas Boulevard, every single one, they gated them all closed with chain link fences. Ten o'eight the shooting started and...we were pigs sitting in a coral, we only had one exit to go out of. The same exits we came in and left Friday and Saturday night were definitely closed. There were people who went over there and trying to leave and there were cops telling them, no you have to go the other way..." (at 1:37 in video)
Russell Black told Fox News:
"We were pretty much in a kill box where...there were about ten, twelve foot walls surrounding the entire vicinity so there was only one way in and out." (at 2:00 in video)
Emergency egress rules at concert venues are well-defined and strictly enforced in all states, with even a partially, accidentally blocked exit able to bring down fines of tens of thousands of dollars on a venue owner. Before any concert can start, a fire marshal must perform a walk-through of the venue, checking specifically for obstructed exits. Once the inspection is in compliance, the fire marshal issues a certificate of occupancy. Without this certificate no show can begin. Exits must be clearly marked with illuminated exit signs.
In yet another interview with Fox, Black said:
"I keep bringing up the fencing, the fencing was the scariest part, they made it a point to make sure no one could enter the facility you know, with fake tickets, sneaking but, but by doing that it made us not able to get out..." (at 4:00 in video of interview.)
Black apparently misunderstands the laws on emergency egress, which can never be blocked. Concert staff may allow people to leave a venue through smaller exits and then require them to re-enter through a main entrance.
There is no mention in any mainstream news coverage of illegally blocked exits, nor of witnesses who describe, in great detail, shooting coming from multiple directions. In one video taken by a taxi driver near the concert, the driver can be heard saying "people are coming over the fences" as mass panic ensued. In the video automatic fire can be heard coming from two very different locations, one very close to the driver, and another some distance away, different in duration, and too long after the nearby burst to possibly be an echo.