Forget the crazy conspiracy theories: Stephen Paddock was lone gunman in Las Vegas mass shooting - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Forget the crazy conspiracy theories: Stephen Paddock was lone gunman in Las Vegas mass shooting

LAS VEGAS — With less than 24-hour notice to the press, on Friday Clark County Sheriff, Joe Lombardo who runs the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) held his first press conference in three months and announced the release of a preliminary investigative report on the Oct. 1 Las Vegas massacre.

We now have a police report documenting facts uncovered by the detectives assigned to the investigation. The report also lists the evidence used to support the conclusion of the investigators. That evidence will eventually be released and/or be subpoenaed by attorneys representing victims of the massacre.

Sheriff Lombardo lost all credibility months ago. He became a one-man wrecking crew for his department and was responsible for a public relations nightmare during the investigation of the worst mass shooting in American history.

Instead of citing no comment, active criminal investigation, Lombardo thought it prudent to hand the public unverified, misleading, false and convoluted information. I dubbed him the king of contradictions, another lying politician. He was, to say the least, incompetent.

Just one week ago when speaking to a Las Vegas crowd, Lombardo referring to Stephen Paddock said, “It’s important for us to forget about this and move on.” He also came under scrutiny last week when the 58 people who were killed in the massacre were not even included in the LVMPD’s homicide rate statistics for 2017. I guess they weren’t homicide victims according to Lombardo. Just like his lies, it was another stab in the back to the families of those who were killed on October 1, 2017.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when Sheriff Joe Lombardo and others are deposed in the civil cases down the road. As sad as it is that Lombardo is the sheriff, I am glad he wasn’t one of the investigating detectives involved in the case. Like I said so many times Lombardo is not representative of most of the police officers at the LVMPD. Like many other law enforcement agencies throughout the country they have and had their share of bad cops. In fact, the LVMPD is currently the subject of an ongoing FBI probe into police corruption involving the vice unit, as reported by the local media.

The honest cops though far outweigh the bad ones. There is no such thing as a corrupt cop. Whether they are at the command level or line level, when they step over the line of honor, disgrace their uniform and profession they become criminals wearing a badge.

In addition to the release of the LVMPD preliminary report, one week ago a federal district court judge unsealed 300 pages of FBI search warrants and the affidavits listing the probable cause for the warrants. Based on the FBI affidavits and the preliminary LVMPD report I believe that Stephen Paddock was the shooter responsible for the murder of 58 people and the wounding and injuring of 851 others. It has always been with me a quest to get some answers on what happened that night.

As far as the crazy conspiracy theories that have been prolific on social media since the outset of the massacre, they are the rants of the bizarre fringe that have flourished on absurd websites over the years. One of the worst is jackass Alex Jones. If you want to quickly lose your credibility just appear on his show. And Jones has the nerve to talk about fake news. At his custody hearing for his children that he lost, by the way, his own attorneys admitted to the court that he was a fake.

As far as I am concerned, there is no conspiracy involving the investigation of Stephen Paddock. To believe that FBI special agents and detectives from the LVMPD who are the backbone of those agencies, conspired in some elaborate grand scheme to frame Paddock is just plain nonsense.

An investigator follows the direction the facts lead him. Those facts uncover the truth. An investigators credibility is based solely on that edict. Until at such time, if that time should ever come, that evidence to the contrary surfaces, I am not going to trash the hard work, the good old detective work that has been done to date on this investigation. I still have faith in law enforcement, regardless of the wrongful actions of a few.

If Paddock was alive today, the case against him as it stands right now would be sufficient to obtain an indictment against him that would most likely have led to a guilty plea and/or a conviction at trial.

There are still many questions that need to be answered.

I still have problems with the timeline when Mandalay Bay was first notified of shots fired by anyone, and the time the police were first notified.

I want answers to why the police did not immediately swarm Paddock’s suite and why the officers in the stairwell were told to wait for the full SWAT team that never arrived. That delay I contend caused the police to make entry an hour and five minutes after the last shots were fired. I will continue to scrutinize all that in future stories. I still want answers and I am not going to let anything go.

I also stand by my belief as I have said so many times that the massacre should never have happened. Incompetence led to the October 1 tragedy. MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Mandalay Bay Hotel failed to implement proper security measures that could have prevented weapons and ammunition from entering the hotel and a vehicle with explosives entering the Valet parking area.

The LVMPD should have had counter-snipers ready to go. Instead, Paddock was allowed to fire unimpeded for ten minutes. Shame on everyone if they don’t learn from this tragedy.

Thursday night on the Fox News Channel’s the Tucker Carlson Show Catherine Lombardo (no relation to Sheriff Joe Lombardo) one of the attorneys representing some of the victims of the October 1 massacre, was a guest on the show along with Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA).

Perry said, “Recently I’ve been made aware what I believe to be credible evidence, credible information regarding potential terrorist infiltration through the southern border regarding this incident.” Catherine Lombardo addressed Perry and said, “Unless you have specific evidence to back that up it seems a bit irresponsible to make that allegation so if you do have any evidence of that, I’m asking you right now to share it with us and tell us what that is.” Perry said, Well I’m not able to. I’m just telling you I have received what I feel to be and believe to be credible evidence of a possible terrorist nexus and we’re going to wait until that situation develops.”

My response to that is Perry should have put up or shut up. He had the opportunity on national television if what he said was true to be a hero. Instead, he turned into just another zero politician. Shame on him, I’m sure the families of the dead appreciated that.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and said that Paddock was radicalized. Right away some gave credibility to a group of murdering bastards because they claimed credit for the worst mass shooting in American history and ran with it. How do we even know it was ISIS and not just another bunch of idiots that made those claims?

ISIS terrorists, Israeli Mossad, Saudi hit teams, mercenaries, helicopter gunships, rooftop extractions, the crazies came out of the woodwork again forgetting that families lost loved ones and that the survivors will be carrying their emotional and physical scars with them forever because of the October 1 massacre. These are some of the same people who said at the start that Jesus Campos was not a real security officer and an illegal immigrant and then run around calling themselves independent investigative journalists spreading absurd stories.

Let’s get back to reality.

Sheriff Joe Lombardo had no choice but to release that preliminary investigative report. The LVMPD was losing credibility for no other reason but because of Lombardo. At least now those of us with clear heads can clearly see that the detectives of the LVMPD were busting their butts tracking down leads, reviewing thousands of hours of video and conducting interviews. Those are the real cops of the LVMPD, not the brass who were appointed to their positions by the incumbent sheriff. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

I am still waiting for a response from the LVMPD at the time of this writing on an explanation on the locked and secured door to the adjoining room, 32-134. So, for now, I cannot comment on that. It doesn’t, however, detract from my belief that Stephen Paddock was responsible for the massacre and that the gunshots came from his suite.

I will say this on the locked door until I get a definitive answer from the police.

Police officers were in the stairwell immediately after the firing stopped. The fire stairwell door was still screwed shut with an “L” bracket. Mandalay Bay Security Officer Jesus Campos along with Engineer Stephen Schuck were in the hallway and remained there until the police arrived. If someone else was in that room as some have alleged, then where did they go? They couldn’t have used the stairs. They didn’t pass Campos or Shuck, both were the hallway. And if there was an accomplice who some allege killed Paddock and then fled, then why are Campos and Schuck still alive, they would have been killed. Didn’t happen that’s why.

Read the FBI affidavits for the search warrants. Read the 81-page investigative report released by the LVMPD. The evidence right now is overwhelming against Paddock and the investigation is still ongoing.

Besides being a mass murderer, the sick son-of-a-bitch also collected child pornography as it was found on one of the computers in his suite according to the police. Someone is reportedly under investigation by the FBI. Could be related to the pornography, the firearms and or the explosive materials. We must wait to see on that.

Some highlights obtained from the LVMPD report and FBI affidavits.

  • Marilou Danley told the FBI she helped Paddock load magazines.
  • Gun shop owners said they sold Paddock some of the firearms.
  • Paddock requested a suite that overlooked the concert venue then booked the adjoining room facing McCarran International Airport.
  • 28 Paddock purchases a .308 bolt action rifle in Mesquite, Nevada. The rifle and 8 expended .308 cartridges were later found in room 32-134.
  • During a stay at the Mandalay Bay in the beginning of September 2017, Danley recalled Paddock behaving strangely. In room 60-235 she observed Paddock constantly looking out the windows of the room which overlooked the venue site. Paddock would move from window to window looking at the site from different angles.
  • Paddock’s physician described him as “odd” in behavior with “little emotion” shown. He believed Paddock may have been bi-polar.
  • From October 2016 through September 2017 Paddock purchased over 55 firearms along with firearms related accessories.
  • Except for the revolver, every firearm recovered in the Mandalay Bay was bought after September 2016.
  • Tracer, Frangible Incendiary, Armor Piercing, and Armor Piercing ammunition was found in both rooms.
  • DNA evidence collected has not yielded any significant results or indication that anyone else was in the room.
  • Approximately 1, 965 leads investigated.
  • Approximately 21, 560 hours of video and 251, 099images obtained by investigators from the LVMPD and the FBI. 529 sightings of Paddock.
  • Google searches on Paddocks computers for events in Las Vegas and California.
  • On 9/5/2017 searches for “Mandalay Bay Las Vegas,” Route 91 harvest festival 2017 attendance,” and Route 91 harvest festival 2017.
  • On 9/15/17 searches for “Swat weapons,” ballistics charts .308,” ‘SWAT Las Vegas,” “ballistic,” and “do police use explosives.”
  • Several hundred images of child pornography were located on one of the hard drives of Paddock’s computer.
  • Numerous internet searches for open air venues.
  • Two 20-pound bags of explosive precursors were found in Paddock’s vehicle along with more weapons.
  • Paddock was seen bringing numerous suitcases into the Mandalay Bay.
  • Weapons and ammunition were recovered from Paddock’s Mesquite, Nevada residence.
  • Weapons and ammunition were recovered from Paddock’s Reno, Nevada residence.
  • No evidence exists to date to indicate Paddock conspired with or acted in collusion with anybody else. This includes video surveillance, recovered DNA and analysis of cellular phones and computers belonging to Paddock.
  • Paddock was found dead in the suite of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

On Monday I spoke with Clark County Coroner, John Fudenberg. I asked him if autopsies were performed on all the homicide victims from October 1 and when will he release the autopsy report on Stephen Paddock. He replied, “You’re not the first to ask that, nothing personal, I am not commenting on anything on 1 October.”

It’s not over until it’s over.

Never forget the 58 people who died and the 851 who were wounded and or injured on the Las Vegas Strip in the worst mass shooting in American history, October 1, 2017.

It should never have happened.

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.