EXCLUSIVE: MGM Resorts International executive knew that a sniper attack from a hotel high-rise posed a threat prior to October 1 massacre - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

EXCLUSIVE: MGM Resorts International executive knew that a sniper attack from a hotel high-rise posed a threat prior to October 1 massacre

LAS VEGAS — A former ranking member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that MGM Resorts International (MGMRI) Executive Director of Corporate Security and Surveillance, Tom Lozich, knew prior to the October 1, 2017 massacre that a sniper attack from an elevated position in a hotel high-rise posed a threat.

Lozich is a retired deputy chief with the LVMPD. In 2008 he was hired by MGM Mirage Corporation, now known as MGMRI.  According to the police source Lozich, while employed at MGM was present during a training exercise when an FBI sniper shot a mannequin placed inside a window simulating a sniper at a hotel high-rise.

The Baltimore Post-Examiner first reported in our May 4 article, FBI’s elite hostage rescue team and the Las Vegas Police trained for similar mass-shooting scenario years before, that a training exercise conducted by the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and attended by members of the LVMPD was eerily similar to the sniper attack from an elevated position that occurred on October 1, 2017.

As stated in that article, sometime after the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas closed in May 2011 and prior to renovations to transform the property into the SLS Resort, the property was used for a training exercise conducted by the FBI and LVMPD personnel.

Since that story was published the Baltimore Post-Examiner was told by several other sources that in addition to LVMPD and FBI personnel, there was also some security professionals from the Las Vegas hotel industry also in attendance.

During the training exercise, a mannequin was placed inside one of the high-rise tower rooms near a window, to simulate an attacker.  The FBI sniper who was inside an FBI helicopter hovering over the Las Vegas Strip successfully made the shot and hit the mannequin.

This raises some serious questions as to why there weren’t LVMPD snipers deployed during the Route 91 Music Festival.

Not only were the LVMPD and the FBI aware that a threat existed from an elevated sniper attack in a hotel high-rise, hence the training exercise, but there was also an MGM Resorts International security executive present.

Why wasn’t this threat a concern and was it raised by Lozich during the planning stages of the Route 91 Music Festival.  The concert venue property is owned by MGMRI and the venue is surrounded by hotel high-rise towers.

In addition, on November 29, 2014, a housekeeping attendant entered a room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, an MGMRI owned property, and according to court documents noticed a rifle with a scope lying on the floor pointing towards the Las Vegas Strip.  Security was contacted and the LVMPD responded.  A convicted felon, Kye Aaron Dunbar, and his wife were occupying the room.  The police confiscated a homemade suppressor (commonly referred to as a silencer), three handguns, two .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles, and a 7.62 NATO caliber bolt-action rifle.

No doubt MGM Resorts International corporate security knew about this incident.

Less than three years later, Stephen Paddock brought twenty-three firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition into his Mandalay Bay Hotel suite, and initiated a sniper attack from his elevated position, down into the concert venue, resulting in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

On October 1, 2017, after Stephen Paddock had stopped firing from his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the LVMPD did deploy SWAT snipers, however by the time they were deployed Paddock had stopped firing.

The Baltimore Post-Examiner was told that an LVMPD sniper was inside a police helicopter armed with a rifle with optics capable of looking in the room and asked the pilot to get as close as possible to the broken-out window, however the pilot refused because he was unsure if anyone in the room would start firing again and endanger the aircraft.

When the LVMPD released police body-worn camera footage of the ad-hoc SWAT Team making entry into Paddock’s suite at 11:20 p.m., you can hear on the audio an officer communicating on his police radio with another officer named Jaire.  According to police sources, Jaire was the LVMPD sniper who was inside the police helicopter.

The Route 91 Harvest festival was canceled this year; however, the Life is Beautiful Music and Art Festival went on as planned from September 21 through September 23.

A police source told the Baltimore Post Examiner in July that the LVMPD would be deploying SWAT snipers during Life is Beautiful, which was confirmed when the police publicly announced in August that there would be snipers deployed in the area of the festival.

Paddock murdered 58 concert attendees.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s final criminal investigative report on the massacre states that 869 people sustained physical injuries and the police were able to confirm approximately 413 had sustained gunshot or shrapnel injuries.  Approximately 360 victims sustained injuries other than gunshot or shrapnel injuries.  Approximately 96 people were identified as having sustained an injury, but the type of injury sustained was unable to be confirmed.  The police report states these numbers reflect data collected through August 2, 2018.  Due to the mass number, types of injuries sustained, and subjects who were treated and released prior to police contact, a definitive number of people who sustained gunshot or shrapnel injuries is not known.

Had snipers been deployed in the vicinity of the Route 91 Harvest festival, could they have reacted in that ten minute period and stopped Paddock from his continued firing and saved lives?

We will never no because they were not there.

What we do know is that because of the massacre that happened on that tragic night in Las Vegas in 2017, the police thought it prudent to have snipers deployed at this year’s Life is Beautiful festival, the first major outdoor event since last October.

We seem to learn the hard way in this country.

It is extremely sad that nobody at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and MGM Resorts International that was involved with the planning of the Route 91 Harvest music festival thought outside the box, that just maybe the concert venue could be vulnerable from a sniper attack from an elevated position.

In a June 6, 2011, Security magazine article, Tom Lozich was quoted as saying, “My days are now spent thinking about prevention because just one event along the Strip could have catastrophic effects for the entire economic vitality of this state.”

The Route 91 Harvest Music Festival had a catastrophic effect on human lives and that is something you cannot put a price on.

This Monday will mark one year since the tragedy. Let us never forget those 58 lost souls, their families and all those who survived that horrific attack.

Lozich did not return calls from the Baltimore Post-Examiner.

 

 

 

 


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.
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