LAS VEGAS — A Las Vegas police officer accidentally fired his gun inside a high-rise hotel suite after the assailant responsible for the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history was found dead, a department official said Wednesday.

Police spokeswoman Carla Alston confirmed Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo’s account to the Las Vegas Review-Journal for a Tuesday report that no one was injured and the discharge of the officer’s weapon was not in the same room in the Mandalay Bay resort suite where gunman Stephen Paddock was found dead.

Lombardo declined an interview request from The Associated Press.

The revelation came almost a month after Lombardo said no police officers fired weapons during the Oct. 1 massacre that killed 58 people at an open-air outdoor music festival. Police said nearly 550 people were injured.

It became the latest change in official timelines and accounts of the massacre, for which police and the FBI have said they have not found a motive and about which officials have said little since Oct. 13.

FBI spokeswoman Sandra Breault declined again Wednesday to comment about what she called the ongoing investigation.

Paddock was a 64-year-old retired accountant who had real estate investments in several states, owned homes in Reno and a retirement community in Mesquite, Nevada, and was a valued casino customer who played enough high-stakes video poker to have been granted free use of the 32nd floor suite where he stockpiled 23 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition for his barrage.

According to a police timeline that changed several times in the two weeks after the shooting, Paddock began firing at 10:05 p.m. into a crowd of about 22,000 people attending the final act of an open-air country music concert.

Sporadic shooting lasted 10 minutes, including fusillades with assault-style weapons that had been modified to fire like machine guns, officials said. An unarmed casino security guard in the hotel hallway was wounded in the leg by gunfire fired through the door of the suite, and a hotel maintenance engineer escaped injury by ducking for cover.

Lombardo has said the first officers to arrive in the hallway no longer heard gunfire in the suite, so they evacuated guests from other rooms and waited for SWAT officers to arrive and blow open the door to the suite at 11:20 p.m. The sheriff said officers found Paddock dead of a self-inflicted gunshot.

Officers also breached a locked door to a second room in the suite, Lombardo has said, but they found no one inside.

The officer’s gun went off sometime after officers made entry, Lombardo told the Review-Journal.

The name of the officer and the type of weapon were not made public. Alston said the incident was being investigated by department internal affairs.

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KEN RITTER
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