Local criminologist, GOHSEP react to Las Vegas massacre

Local criminologist, GOHSEP react to Las Vegas massacre

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A criminologist said people should not expect hotels to becomes fortresses because of the Las Vegas massacre. Meanwhile, emergency planners are expected to learn lessons from the tragedy.

The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, targeted complete strangers from a 32nd floor hotel room, and had a lot of fire power at his disposal, according to authorities.

"Obviously, the arsenal that he had was very surprising.  It just kind of reminds us again how easy access that we have to guns in America," said Ashraf Esmail, a criminologist at Dillard University.

"We have a situation now where an elevated hotel room was used by the shooter, and so this may be, like I said, a different scenario that needs to be added into the mix for these types of drills," said Mike Steele, Communications Director at the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, also known as GOHSEP.

In Louisiana, the state's Fusion Center constantly takes in information from the federal government and other sources about possible threats, and if warranted, disseminates that information to local authorities.

"Following an event like this, most of the activity with our office involves the information flow that's part of the investigation," said Steele.

Esmail said mass shootings are becoming a pattern in the U.S.

"Per capita we have more guns than any other country in the world," he said.

The number of casualties continues to increase.

"Obviously, this has become larger than the Orlando incident as the biggest massacre we've seen, or mass shooting we've seen in the U.S. which, you know, raises the question will now politicians, you know, look at this more seriously," said Esmail.

The shooting prompts questions of how Paddock was able to get close to 20 guns into the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.

"Obviously, we have a lot more research to do, or conduct, investigations to conduct, but obviously he was able to get access to this probably without too much trouble," said Esmail.

Still, he doubts hotels will put patrons through metal detectors in any wholesale way.

"These things have been happening in shopping malls, movie theaters, hotels, you can't just pick one entity, you have to pick all entities and say even this university and say we need to have metal, you just don't know when these things are going to happen," said Esmail.

New Orleans is a city that hosts a slew of major events and often gets help from state police to shore up security.

"Any major event, especially if we have an event like Super Bowl or other larger events anywhere in the state there's always weeks, if not months of planning that goes into that by law enforcement agencies," Steele said.

Esmail said getting guns remains too easy.

"You and I can go on line and purchase a gun right now and don't tell me that all the people who have guns have perfect records and no background of any type of violence or anything," he said.

He said it is a reality politician must address.

"We've lost more people by guns since 1970 than all the wars combined, even back to the American Revolution," added Esmail.

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