On Wednesday, Las Vegas police released some of the body-camera footage taken by officers who responded to the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in October.
The videos showed the moment when officers first entered the hotel room of Stephen Paddock, who perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Paddock, 64, killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 others from his hotel suite balcony.
So far, only a small portion of the video has been published by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, while outlets such as the Associated Press and CNN say they are reviewing the footage before publishing the potentially upsetting images for the public.
The Associated Press reports that they and other news outlets sued for the body camera footage, recordings of 911 calls and other pertinent evidence shortly after the attack. However, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo feared that the community wasn't ready for a blow-by-blow account.
"We believe the release of the graphic footage will further traumatize a wounded community. For that, we apologize," he said.
The existing footage does not show what the first officer saw as he entered the door, because he did not activate his body camera. Police lawyers disclosed that mistake on Tuesday night, and AP reports that it may prove that officers did not follow department policy.
Carla Alston, a spokeswoman for the sheriff, said that the agency had no comment on whether the first officer had violated procedure or been disciplined. The department requires officers to activate their body cameras whenever they respond to calls where they may interact with residents.
Lombardo said that the police investigation is still not finished. He called the preparation and release of the evidence news outlets have requested a "monumental task," and said it would divert resources from other police work.
"What is seen on those videos in no way changes the facts that we were able to clarify for you shortly after the crime," he said.
Police still believe that Paddock acted alone in his attack on the music festival. An avid gambler, Paddock may have had a sudden loss of financial security, causing the break down that spurred the attack.
A preliminary police report, released in January, shows that Paddock planned the attack with great care. He rented other hotel rooms with vantage points over other outdoor concerts, reportedly investigating at least four other potential targets in major U.S. cities.