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UC grad one of first officers to Las Vegas shooter's room

A Utica College graduate was one of the first officers who stormed into the gunman's room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas over a week ago.

Posted: Oct 10, 2017 6:10 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2017 3:39 PM

UTICA, NY-- A Utica College graduate was one of the first officers who stormed into the gunman's room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas over a week ago.

Matthew Donaldson, a detective with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, was one of four police officers featured on CBS' '60 Minutes.' The group of officers shared their stories of what happened the night of the shooting, that left 58 people dead and hundreds of others injured.

Donaldson said he was doing paperwork when he got the call. He told '60 Minutes' he was wearing his cowboy boots that were not built for running.

"I took my boots off," he said. " I just threw 'em in the casino. That was slowing me down. I was faster barefoot and I was gonna be more effective barefoot."

Tim Nelson, his former lacrosse coach at Utica College, said he was worried for the former athlete.

"In this day and age with Twitter and Facebook, I think I saw it popped up right away," Nelson said. "I was like 'oh my God' I woke up that morning, I texted Matt immediately he got back to me probably within seconds, ...that's the type of guy Matt is."

Nelson said Donaldson said he was 'doing okay,' considering the circumstances.

"I was just kind of surreal that he was involved in something so horrific there in Las Vegas and the people, but they have to go through and loss of life," Nelson said.

He has kept in contact with Donalson over the years. Nelson explained that the week before he called Donaldson because the vice president of the college was going to be visiting Las Vegas area soon.

Nelson added that Donaldson was an amazing athlete who set several records. Donaldson still holds the record for career goals. Donaldson was also named captain by his teammates.

Nelson said he wasn't surprised to learn that the UC graduate was one of the first to enter the shooter's room, because he 'always put others before himself.'

"I think the whole college has a lot to be proud of with Matt and how he put the interest of safety of others before his own safety," Nelson said "He was determined to get there and help. I think Matt has chosen the right profession because he's definitely someone that wants to help people."

Donaldson was not allowed to be interviewed, because the police department was no longer allowing media coverage. But Nelson said he hopes Donaldson will speak at Utica College about his experience in the near future.

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