KSNV-TV News 3 fails to ask Lombardo the hard questions - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

KSNV-TV News 3 fails to ask Lombardo the hard questions

LAS VEGAS — On Tuesday KSNV-TV News 3 Las Vegas aired an interview with Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo.

The interview was billed as a Town Hall, a one-on-one with Sheriff Joe Lombardo.  Just when I thought it was going to be a public forum where Lombardo would be under pressure to answer some tough questions, that was not to be the case.

It was not a public town hall meeting, but rather an in-studio interview with two news anchors, that was pre-recorded and edited.

News 3 Las Vegas’ interview with Lombardo was reminiscent of the of the 8 News Now interview with Lombardo on November 2, 2017.  Another softball interview in which Lombardo was not challenged on anything he said.

As usual, Lombardo spoke with a forked tongue at times and contradicted some of his own prior statements.

When asked if he was going to answer as to Paddock’s motive, Lombardo replied, “No, at this point it’s no and I don’t see anything changing in the near future that would change my statement.  We’re close, the releasing the complete investigative report.  I anticipate the end of July for that release, maybe a week or two here and there, but we’re in close proximity of the release.”

On the department’s reluctance to release information Lombardo responded, “It’s being released on the heels of a court battle, you know people were questioning my position on that, we did it, needed to go to court for this release. I’ve been pretty proud of my transparency under my tenure as your sheriff, but there’s some give and take associated with transparency.  Actually, in law enforcement, we have never made it a matter of practice to release an investigative file prior to the completion of the investigation because there’s leads coming in to and fro, there’s all the ones we had in place that we had to run to ground.  There’s a lot of nuances and parts especially in an investigation of this breath and it’s our position, our normal practice to not release that information until the investigation has been per se, completed.  But on the other hand, I understand the people’s zest for the information and we want to be public in what we do, and people want to understand what took place because there’s nothing bigger in our history, in our timeline, other than 1 October.” 

“There’s nuances; one, it’s a continued investigation, we still have a lot of outstanding leads out there we have to follow up on and two, and I said it publicly and I’ll say it here with you, there’s a huge cost associated with this.  So, part of the court battle was reimbursement for the cost associated with the release of this information and that wasn’t made public, [Yes it was, the Baltimore Post-Examiner ran a story on that] but I will make it public here. It’s a big deal and then I had to move detectives as part of their normal day to day operations. Sequestering them in a secure facility and go through all the information that we redacted reference 1 October and do the redaction, compile the release and all that goes along with it.  And I’m comfortable saying that’s around 20 people and that’s taking them from their daily duties, investigating crime, responding to crimes, handling dispatch calls, and all that information would have been released in due time, but the court forced us, upon us.  As an example, was used, it didn’t take this long to get the Parkland information, that’s apples and oranges.  The size of this event, the investigation, nuances of this event and the people that were victimized associated with this event and that brings me to another piece, it’s very difficult for me in my position to re-victimize the victims, the families and the people that were involved and now this information becomes public and they go through that.  It would of happened eventually but where still in close proximity.”

Responding to the question that he is covering up missteps by LVMPD and or is delaying the release of the information as a cover-up for missteps on MGM Resorts part, Lombardo said, “I would push back extremely hard on that neither one of them are accurate or there’s no integrity associated with either one of those statements.  I would not, I don’t have the ability to do that in my position.  There’s a requirement via law and transparency that I have alluded to in my campaign, that information, once I am able to do it properly and timely it will be released.  It is what it is.  You can’t hide anything in today’s age.  [Sure, you can.  Corrupt cops. Domestic violence, DUI and other crimes by police personnel].

“I’m very proud of our response as police department and I’m a little offended by those statements, and it’s not because you said it, it’s because it’s out there.  Metro, I’m very proud to say did a very very good response to this particular incident.  Nobody could particularly train for this exact scenario, nobody can envision this scenario [Not true, more on this later] and the response that we did as a police department and every other public safety agency throughout the valley, the response we did, being held up as best practice.  I am from the human race, I have a thousand moving parts, is there going to be questionable response by certain individuals [Is he referring to coward cop Cordell Hendrex], yeah, but that’s all part of it, we don’t know how people react under duress and that’s all part of it.  Not everybody is absolutely perfect when it comes, when they’re put in a position of duress.”  [I sure hope Lombardo is not alluding to Hendrex here because if he is trying to make excuses for Hendrex’s failure to act to save lives, then Lombardo is a bigger disgrace than I thought.]

“I want to address the second part, the MGM, no.  I heard in the media a couple of times that the reason why we were delaying this is because the MGM has given me millions of dollars in my political campaign.  The MGM hadn’t given me anything.  So, people don’t do their research, associated, the MGM.” 

[So, the MGM hasn’t given him anything, really.  I did cursory research and according to public records, MGM Resorts International contributed $10,000 to his campaign on 12/9/16. On 1/14/2015 the following MGMRI owned properties also contributed money to his campaign; The Mirage $10,000, Bellagio $5,000 and Mandalay Bay $10,000].

I’m not in their pocket of any casino company.  They’re part of our fabric of our economy.  I interact with them on a daily and weekly basis.  It’s part of being the head of a law enforcement agency and that would be malpractice per se. if we were in concert or covertly doing something with a particular private entity that was involved in a critical incident.”

Lombardo was asked, “Still getting leads in, and are you proud of how your department responded?  Looking back, anything you would change, what would you tweak?  Obviously, it was a learning experience for Metro.  Also, what would you do differently?”  He replied, “Well the first question is we are still, I wouldn’t say it’s nowhere near the early parts of the investigation, the number of leads that are coming in.  But your question in an earlier segment is are we going to find a reason why or is there additional suspects or anything that goes along with any investigation and the answer I gave you is no.  But there’s still people that will come in and say I met Mr. Paddock at some point, and he said this, or I saw Mr. Paddock in some gun store and he was purchasing this and so those types of disparate little leads trickling in still and we have to run those to ground and make sure we paint a complete picture like any investigation to determine motive any co-conspirators and everything else that goes along.  You know, Marilou Danley, the other individual involved with this, his girlfriend.  There’s still some outstanding questions reference her actions prior to the event.”  [ Nine months after the massacre and there are still outstanding questions about Danley and leads are still coming in, yet the final investigative report will be released in a month. Puzzling.]  And the behavioral analysis piece to determine the mindset of the suspect, that’s in the auspice of the FBI and that won’t be released until later in the year.”     

He was asked, “At this point, he is a loner and angry, that’s what we got at this point, right?”  Lombardo replied, “Yeah, and I have alluded to his, you know, his state at the time of the incident and there was some information that we believe his mental state was degrading and you know, the exact nuances or nomenclature or the science behind the exact situation of that, I’m not privy to. But I believe that to be part of it.”

“How was our response and what we would do different.  Well, let me personalize it first, is, you know in my compelling position to, I inform the public and insure their safety and having been informed there was some outstanding suspect, there was some big group of nefarious people who will intend harm in the future of that incident, I wanted to get that information out sooner or later.  So, there were some nuances associated with the timeline and I was criticized because of the changing of the timeline during subsequent press conferences.  That was information that came from disparate locations, disparate databases and that gave me admonishment early on, my failure not to repeat the admonishment when I publicly said, hey, this is a dynamic event, information and the facts were going to change over time.  But I didn’t repeat that over time, so I got forgotten in the early throes of the first couple of press conferences, so people thought I was not being honest and transparent, or telling stories, which in fact that wasn’t the case.  The case is it’s dynamic, it’s changing, and it had no affect on our response or investigation.”

Lombardo was asked, could officers have gotten there sooner.  He said, “Um, no.  I believe their response was robust.  I believe it was timely and it was of quality.  Now you have to remember, these officers were staged across the street [Not Hendrex, he was already inside the Mandalay Bay before the gunfire erupted], they were taking live rounds from an individual on the 32ndfloor that we know now and it was very difficult to determine where it was coming from, [Not for Hendrex, he called in that shots were being fired from the 32ndfloor as he listened to the gunfire from the 31stfloor and failed to act to save lives] their concern, their primary concern, for the safety of the people that were being victimized and the safety of themselves and then subsequently there’s argument amongst the naysayers that well it took them 70 minutes to breach the door.  Well, that’s because the firing had stopped.  And so, they were properly evaluating it, there was no more immediate threat [Another Lombardo lie, that is not what he said during the November 2 interview.  More on that later.]and you know our officers have concern for their safety to, upon entry of that door, is there 20 people behind the door when they enter.  Once they determined it appeared to be stable, not knowing the situation of the suspect, they did eventually breach the door.” [Yes, they did, one hour and five minutes after the last shots were fired and they stated they weren’t even sure anybody was still in the room.]   

“But their initial response, the clearing of the hallways and determine where the suspect was and everything they did alongside, I’m very proud of them and I’ll back their play till the cows come home.” 

I’m wondering if Lombardo read any of his officers’ reports or watched any of the released body worn camera footage. As soon as the first officers arrived on the 32nd floor they were told by Jesus Campos exactly what room the gunfire had originated from.

Sheriff Lombardo, are you also proud of Cordell Hendrex and will you back his cowardly play to retreat and cower, failing to act to stop, distract or disrupt Paddock’s gunfire as people were being killed and wounded?

When Lombardo said that “nobody can envision a scenario like this,’’ well that is not true.  The LVMPD and the FBI trained for a similar scenario in Las Vegas several years prior to the October 1 massacre.  That was first reported by the Baltimore Post-Examiner in our May 4 story, ‘FBI’s elite hostage rescue team and the Las Vegas Police trained for a similar mass-shooting scenario years before.’

Now, let’s revisit Lombardo’s comment that Paddock’s suite was not breached sooner because there was no immediate threat. This is what he said during the November 2, 2017 interview on 8 News Now Las Vegas.

“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.”

Sure, Lombardo, you mean to tell that you were so concerned with the public’s safety, that your officers believed Paddock may have been reloading and would open fire again, yet your officers waited one hour and five minutes after Paddock had already stopped firing to enter the room.

That is just plain incompetence and makes no sense at all.  Specifically, when the released body-worn camera footage shows a minimum of nine officers on the 32ndfloor after the gunfire stopped and nobody made any attempt to enter Paddock’s room.

And let us not forget about your coward cop, Cordell Hendrex.

How is any of this being concerned for the public’s safety?

 

 

 

 

 

            

 

  

 


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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