Contrary to Lombardo’s comment and Las Vegas Police report entry was not made into Paddock’s suite to stop any further gunfire - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Contrary to Lombardo’s comment and Las Vegas Police report entry was not made into Paddock’s suite to stop any further gunfire

LAS VEGAS — On August 3 when Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo announced at a press briefing that his department’s final criminal investigative report on the Las Vegas Massacre would be released online AFTER the briefing, he said, “We have completed a monumental task.”

Lombardo introduced the members of the Force Investigation Team who authored the report, among them Sgt. Jerry MacDonald.

If his name sounds familiar it should, because MacDonald was the LVMPD officer who swore under oath during a telephonic affidavit for a search warrant after the Massacre, that the officers who had made entry in Paddock’s suite had observed Paddock commit suicide.

That was hidden from the public until the court-ordered release of the affidavits and search warrants earlier this year.

It was then at that time that MacDonald backtracked on his sworn testimony and stated it was a mistake, that Paddock was dead when the ad-hoc SWAT team made entry at 11:20 p.m. on October 1, 2017.

Of course, the Las Vegas media never asked MacDonald who gave him that information.

I was the affiant on countless affidavits for search warrants when I was on the job and I would never use rumor and unsubstantiated comments for any search warrant request. The reason for that is if the search warrant is contested in court and upheld, any evidence obtained from the search warrant goes out the window.

MacDonald was also one of the authors of the LVMPD’s preliminary report that was released in January.

As I have reported in several stories for the Baltimore Post-Examiner, both the preliminary and final reports contain false, contradictory and misleading statements.

If that sounds too familiar, it’s because top cop Lombardo has also made false, contradictory and misleading statements since last year when commenting on the Massacre.

Could be that something might be in the air at LVMPD HQ.

What should have been the department’s premier report, considering it was their criminal investigative report on the worst mass shooting in modern American history, turned out to be much less flattering.

As I reported in the September 25 Baltimore Post-Examiner story, ‘Las Vegas police report indicates Paddock was in two places at the same time,’ the police falsely described in the final report Paddock’s movements inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel while he was gambling on the 28th and 29th of September 2017. When I discover discrepancies like that I have to question the validity of the report and other conclusions they reached.

As a matter of fact, the Force Investigation Team should never have been given primary investigative responsibility for the investigation.

The October 1 Massacre was the biggest homicide investigation in the history of the LVMPD and their homicide division, one of the best in the United States, was not tasked as the lead investigative unit. The seasoned detectives of the homicide unit were not even allowed to enter Paddock’s suite.

Members of the Force Investigation Team investigate officer-involved shootings and use of force and are not homicide detectives.

Lombardo’s lie contained in both the preliminary and final reports

On November 2, 2017, Lombardo was being interviewed by an “investigative reporter” from KLAS TV in Las Vegas.

Speaking of when the police finally decided to breach Paddock’s suite on the 32nd floor of the MGM Resorts International owned Mandalay Bay Hotel, Lombardo said:

“In normal practice, if we were to execute a search warrant say on a barricaded individual, we could take all the time we need and all the resources to bare to ensure everybody’s safety. In this case, because of what the suspect did, officers made the decision to breach this doorway of the hotel room in case the guy was reloading, maybe he was reloading magazines, we didn’t want to give him the opportunity to keep firing and when they made entry they found out he committed suicide.”

That was one of the biggest lies that ever came out of the mouth of any police department administrator.

What made it worse was that Lombardo wasn’t even challenged by the interviewer.

After all, you wouldn’t want to do your job as an “investigative reporter” in Las Vegas because that would have made the sheriff look like an idiot and a liar.

According to Lombardo, the police were so concerned with the public’s safety the night of the Massacre, that they didn’t want to give Paddock the opportunity to reload and open fire again when in reality, the police waited one hour and five minutes after he had already stopped firing to enter the room.

Where was the urgency for the public’s safety?

This is well beyond incompetence and makes no sense at all, not tactically or any other way.

Paddock’s suite should have been entered immediately upon arrival of the first group of patrol officers. It was still an active shooter response whether or not the gunfire stopped because the police had no idea that night that Paddock would not have opened fire again.

What should have been an immediate and precise response, was not.

Some have made comments to the effect that if Paddock had opened fire again, the patrol officers on the 32nd floor would have attempted to make entry.

How ridiculous is that comment?

Wait until the shooter, who had just killed and wounded countless innocent people at the Route 91 Harvest music festival, would open fire again, and then make entry, as more people were being killed and wounded.

My point is this, nobody knew that night that Paddock was dead in the room.

Back to Lombardo.

It was bad enough that Lombardo lied to the public on television once again.

To add insult to injury, the authors of the LVMPD’s preliminary and final criminal investigative reports perpetuated the myth that was told by Lombardo and they also mislead the public.

From the LVMPD Preliminary and Final Investigative Reports

“No gunfire had been heard from the suspect’s room for approximately 40 minutes. It was decided entry was necessary to the room to determine if the suspect was still inside and to stop any further shooting from the room.”

Conclusion

That statement is not only comical, but it’s also not factual.

Paddock stopped firing one hour and five minutes BEFORE the ad-hoc SWAT team made entry into the suite, not 40 minutes.

So, to stop any further shooting from the room because Paddock may have been reloading magazines as Lombardo said, the police finally made entry at 11:20 p.m. an hour and five minutes after Paddock fired his last shots.

Paddock stopped firing at 10:15 p.m.

No police officer could have known that night, that firing would not erupt again at any time in that one hour and five-minute time frame before entry was made, and that would have cost more lives.

The police weren’t even sure anybody was still in the room that night.

SWAT Officer Levi Hancock on the radio on October 1, 2017, said, “We need to pop this and see if we can get any type of response from this guy, to see if he’s in here or he’s actually moved somewhere else.”

Fifteen years after the September 11, 2001 attacks and this was the best the LVMPD leadership could do that night, wait over one hour to make entry into the shooter’s room and then without the use of the full SWAT team.

Nothing about this makes much sense. Nothing that Lombardo said makes any sense.

It was a police command staff failure that night.

Police officers ran through the gunfire to get into the Mandalay Bay Hotel with the intention of getting to Paddock’s room to stop him. When they arrived on the 32nd floor the gunfire had stopped but they still wanted to attempt entry, which was tactically the right thing to do, but they were told not to.

That will be addressed in future stories.

As far as Lombardo and transparency.

At the August 3 press briefing, Lombardo was asked about LVMPD Officer Cordell Hendrex, the officer who cowered on the 31st floor while people were being killed and failed to do his job to protect lives.

Police protocol in an active shooter incident is to go to the threat and eliminate that threat as fast as possible, not stop to pray, freeze and make up excuses for your cowardice.

Lombardo’s response, “Internal and personnel matters will not be released to the public.”

More BS.

Statements like that from police department officials are wearing pretty thin with the public these days.

I’m sure the families of the 58 people who were murdered and the over 400 who survived the gunfire on October 1, 2017, appreciated Lombardo’s comments and the big lie in both the preliminary and final police reports on the Las Vegas Massacre.


About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 40 years of experience. In 1986 Mr. Poppa was awarded “Criminal Investigator of the Year” by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. He was also re-assigned to the Northern Virginia Regional Narcotics Enforcement Task Force for 18 months. In 1991 and again in 1992 Mr. Poppa’s testimony under oath in court led to the discovery that exculpatory evidence was withheld from the defense by the prosecutor and sheriff’s office officials during the 1988 trial of a man accused of attempted murder of his wife that led to his conviction. As a result of his testimony the man was ordered released from prison, given a new trial in 1992 and found not guilty. Mr. Poppa became the subject of local and national news media attention as a result of his testimony which led to the demise of his 12-year police career. After losing his job, at the request of the FBI, Mr. Poppa infiltrated in an undercover capacity a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont Chemical fortune heir and his wife in 1992. His stories have been featured on Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and CBS News’ Street Stories with Ed Bradley. Contact the author.
COMMENT POLICY

HOME / ABOUT / CONTACT / JOIN THE TEAM / TERMS OF SERVICE / PRIVACY POLICY / COMMENT POLICY