Episode 226: Rod Swanson – Las Vegas Mass Shooting, Recovery Assistance

Retired agent Roland “Rod” Swanson served in the FBI for 20 years.

In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Rod Swanson reviews how, although retired, he used his FBI experience and training to assist FBI Victim Services personnel with the recovery, identification, and return of personal items left behind by victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.

On October 1, 2017, in what was the largest mass shooting incident in US history, 58 concert goers were killed, an additional 422 people were shot, two died later, and more than 800 people were injured at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, NV. Rod shares his initial frustration when he realized that his retirement status meant that after years of preparation he could not participate in the investigation of this major crisis event.

The first Bureau assignment for Rod Swanson, a former Army Infantry captain, was the Philadelphia Division where he worked on the Violent Crime Fugitive Task Force, was a relief supervisor, SWAT Operator, and firearms instructor.

He was next selected to become a member of Director Mueller’s protective detail, and then to serve as an International Terrorism Operations supervisor at FBI Headquarters.

He was later promoted to supervise the Transnational Criminal Enterprise Squad and the Joint Terrorism Task Force in the Las Vegas Field Office. He was also assigned as a Deputy On-Scene Commander, in Baghdad, Iraq and as the Legal Attaché in Sana’a Yemen, which was also responsible for Djibouti/Ethiopia. Upon his return to US and the Las Vegas Division, Rod was placed on the Public Corruption Squad.

After his retirement from the FBI, he served for five years as the Chief of Investigations, for the Nevada Office of the Attorney General.

Currently, Rod is the owner and lead consultant at RDS Consulting, LLC where he advises corporate security officers on continuity risk, crisis management, threat evaluation and mitigation, and executive protection. He can be reached via his LinkedIn profile his LinkedIn profile.

Special Agent (Retired)

Roland “Rod” Swanson

July 23, 1995-Sept 18, 2015









“There’s phones with pictures and video, there’s wallets and purses. The last things that some family member may have of their loved one who didn’t make it. That’s important stuff. Part of the recovery and healing process.”—Retired Agent Rod Swanson

The following are links to video, photos, and articles about the Las Vegas mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on October 1, 2017 and information about the FBI Victim Assistance Program:

LinkedIn – 1/19/2021:  A Former FBI Agent’s Biggest Lesson Learned from the Vegas Mass Shooting Incident

FBI.gov Website – Victim Services Overview

FBI Brochure pdf – FBI

ABC News (VIDEO) – 12/19/2018:  A Killer on Floor 32 l Watch the FULL Documentary

USA Today – 10/4/2017: ‘This can’t be happening’: The fateful 11 minutes of the Las Vegas mass shooting

Wall Street Journal – 9/20/2018:  One Year Later, Experts Dig Deeper to Find Vegas Shooter’s Motive

ABC News – New aerial photos show aftermath of Las Vegas shooting scene


Reuters – 10/8/2017:  Las Vegas concertgoers claim personal items left after massacre

FOX40 – 1/8/2021:  FBI looking to return personal items left at Las Vegas mass shooting site

The Guardian – 9/30/2020:  Victims and relatives of Las Vegas Strip mass shooting to receive $800m settlement

For more information about the FBI’s response to mass shootings and the active shooter program, listen to:

255: Katherine Schweit – School Shootings, Active Shooter Program

The iconic Las Vegas welcome sign became a memorial site full of flowers, gifts , and cards for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting.









Victim’s belongings were scattered across the site of the Las Vegas mass shooting and separated into quadrants for recovery and identification, before being returned to the victims or their families.











A hotel surveillance photo shows the murderer moving weapons into his room. It is  speculated that his motivation was notoriety. Therefore, his name will not be mentioned here.










Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. […] 226: Rod Swanson – Las Vegas Mass Shooting, Recovery Assistance […]

  2. […] 226: Rod Swanson – Las Vegas Mass Shooting, Recovery Assistance […]

  3. Gordon LeithMarch 22, 2021

    Just finished your Episode 226 and really enjoyed it. My experience as a professional counselor included crisis intervention with employees of a federal agency over the years. I saw the dedication that the government has placed on providing post-crisis help. Rod’s experience, leadership, and out-of-the box response a tragedy of that magnitude couldn’t have been planned and yet was put together and coordinated in such an effective manner. Again, very much enjoyed. I could go on and on, but what so well sums it up is his final words, (to the best of my memory) “I am just glad I could help.”

    1. Jerri WilliamsMarch 23, 2021

      I agree and that’s why I decided to post the interview with Rod even though it wasn’t a “case review.” Thank you for listening!


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