Radford University criminal justice professor reacts to Las Vegas massacre

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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ7) The massacre in Las Vegas has many thinking about how police responded in the moments after.

Tod Burke says there were a number of factors that came together to make this situation incredibly difficult for police on the ground.

Tod Burke, Radford University Criminal Justice Professor said, “From all accounts, it looks like the police did a great job in getting there.”

Even so, Burke says there were a number of factors working against police in Las Vegas.

“You're talking about a crowded area, an outdoor venue and you're talking about a highrise hotel that makes it very difficult to determine where the shooter is,” he said.

In those moments, he says police may have encountered what's called the 'echo effect' -- making the gunshots sound like they're coming from a different area.

“Then trying to isolate it, trying to count floors, trying to figure out which room this came from. It's very difficult,” said Burke.

On top of that, the suspected gunman, Stephen Paddock, had no criminal record, besides a routine citation years ago.

“And if a person doesn't have a criminal background and has not come to the attention of law enforcement as being a threat to themselves or the public, it makes it difficult,” he said.

He says there are still many questions, but stresses law enforcement relies on intelligence. And a watchful public plays an important role in that.

“So sometimes it's probably better to be on the safe side and report suspicious activity ahead of time and give law enforcement a heads up,” said Burke.

He added police will be using old-school techniques and looking at the suspected gunman -- Stephen Paddock's -- digital footprint, too.

“Really delving into the electronics, going into social media, looking at the computer, talking, doing interviews,” he said.

The goal is to eventually find a motive, but sometimes that’s not always possible. After that, he says even more questions will be raised across the country.

Burke said, “Well now that this has happened, is it likely to happen again, and how do we minimize or prevent such an incident from occurring?”

He believes that will involve questions surrounding hotel security.

“What are we going to expect? Are we going to have luggage checked by everybody every guest that comes in,” he asked.

While Burke admits that's not a very practical solution, he believes the massacre in Las Vegas will bring even larger questions to the surface.

“We have to decide the line between privacy and security and that's a tough call,” he said.