Cincinnati cop on Vegas strip after shooting: 'No one knew the s - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Cincinnati cop on Vegas strip after shooting: 'No one knew the severity of it yet'

A police officer takes cover behind a truck at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Locher) A police officer takes cover behind a truck at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
SLIDESHOW: LAS VEGAS MASS SHOOTING Police officers advise people to take cover near the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday. (AP Photo/John Locher) SLIDESHOW: LAS VEGAS MASS SHOOTING Police officers advise people to take cover near the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Sunday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
LAS VEGAS (FOX19) -

A veteran Cincinnati police officer was just four blocks away when the nation's worst mass shooting unfolded on the Las Vegas strip.

"Everybody is safe and sound and I'm actually at my friend's house out in the suburbs," District 5 Officer Bryan Gabel said in a live phone interview with FOX19 NOW Monday morning.

Related story: At least 50 killed, more than 400 wounded as gunman opens fire in Vegas

He has been vacationing with his girlfriend in Vegas, where the couple are staying at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

Gabel said he was getting his car from the valet there late Sunday when several emergency vehicles flew past.

They all headed south on the strip toward the Mandalay Bay.

Ironically, he was just there Friday night.

"They have a nightclub on the top floor," Gabel recalled. "I am sure they saw everything. The Mandalay Bay looks right down onto the concert venue. I thought to myself 'something is going on', but I didn't know what."

At first, he assumed rescue crews were responding to an auto accident or a pedestrian hit or something similar.

He began to drive away from the Flamingo, heading in the opposite direction of the shooting.

"A friend called and asked where I was and said 'do you know what's going on?'" Gabel recalled. "He said 'There's been a shooting.' No one knew the severity of it yet.

"I got down to Fremont Street. Another 10 to 15 minutes go by and I start to see a lot of police officers showing up - because that is a very popular area - with military assault rifles."

He said he felt "something is not right."

His friend called back and told him: 'You need to get out of there now. You just need to come out to my house.'"

Gabel's hotel was promptly locked down by police as a precaution in case there were multiple shooters similar to the Paris attacks in November 2015.

"They secured a very large perimeter. They completely shut the strip down in both directions," he said. "I stayed up until 2, 2:30 a.m. Las Vegas time trying to see if I could get back into the hotel room and they said they didn't have any ETA."

He said he hopes to return to his hotel by this afternoon.

The 26-year police veteran described the law enforcement response in Vegas "extremely prepared."

He elaborated later Monday in a Facebook post:

"I cannot stress enough to you all how incredibly prepared LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE was for this," he wrote.

"Ftom an immediate lock down of the perimeter, to response teams at numerous casinos, to securing important routes in and out of the area. 

"There were many reports last night of an officer killed while attending the concert. My heart goes out to all affected by that.

"God Bless the First Responders," he wrote. "Prayers for the victims of this senseless act carried out by a COWARD."

Gabel will be back on duty patrolling Cincinnati soon.

He is scheduled to fly home Tuesday night.

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