Las Vegas Police change timeline of shooting - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas Police change timeline of shooting

On Monday, one week after the massacre at a Las Vegas music festival Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who leads the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department changed a key part of the shooting timeline by stating that the gunman had shot the Mandalay Bay security officer six minutes BEFORE he opened fire on the festival.

Why that pertinent information was changed a week later is unknown. The security officer should have been one of the first persons interveiwed by police.

Police officials are often all too quick to hold press conferences and make statements before all the facts are in.

Police would have been better served had they not released any information but simply stated that it was an active investigation and they would not discuss it until all the facts are in and the investigation is completed.

When I called the LVMPD press information office on Friday and asked what the circumstances were that caused an officer to fire his weapon inside the gunman’s room, I was told that it was still an active investigation. Is not this whole investigation active, so why release anything?

This new revelation makes absolutely no sense to me. After my law enforcement career, I spent almost twenty years in the hotel and casino industry here in Las Vegas both as an investigator for MGM and then as a director of security and surveillance at two properties.

All week the police told the public that the Mandalay Bay security officer who got shot in the leg was a hero because he probably interrupted the gunman while he was firing on the crowd. That was bothering me because something just didn’t fit. Today, Lombardo stated that their timeline was wrong. Wrong is an understatement.

Now we are told that the security officer was shot six minutes BEFORE the gunman opened fire on the crowd. Why is that significant? Because it changes everything from that point forward. I can’t comment on what the security procedures are at the Mandalay Bay, but I can tell you what my policies were and what common sense would have dictated.

The security officer is on the 32nd floor checking for a report of a door ajar. At this point the gunman has not fired on the crowd. The S/O takes gunfire from the gunman’s room and gets hit in the leg and according to the sheriff this is six minutes before the gunman opens fire on the festival.

Did the S/O call in to security dispatch and advise them that he had been shot? At the very least common sense would dictate that he did do that. Now at this point Mandalay Bay security dispatch should have immediately notified 911 that they had a S/O shot on the 32nd floor.

Was this a breakdown in communication on the part of Mandalay Bay or the police? The hotel security dispatch log should indicate what time they were advised by the officer that he was shot and what time they notified 911.

From working with Metro on the strip I can tell you that Metro officers would have been enroute code-3 [lights and siren], but more importantly the police would have already known that they had an active shooter on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay prior to the gunman firing into the crowd.

But that wasn’t the case and we know that from the police radio traffic that night. Officers responding had no idea where the shots were coming from until one police officer who swiftly made it to the 31st floor notifies the dispatcher that he was one floor below the suspect and he was hearing automatic weapon fire.   Then several minutes later another police officer states they had an S/O shot on the 32nd floor and that the gunman fired down the hall at him.

What was the security officer doing from the time he got shot before the gunman was firing on the crowd, then during the ten-minute period while the gunman was firing and until the arrival of the police on the 32nd floor at which time the gunman had stopped firing for some unknown reason?

Last night I watched 60 Minutes on CBS. They interviewed four police officers who went into the gunman’s room. None of them mentioned anything about a weapon being discharged, most likely again, because it’s an active investigation.

One of the officers said that the gunman had used screws to make the stairwell door adjacent to his room inaccessible. Why is that important to me as a former investigator?

I would want to know when he did that and when he placed the two cameras on the room service cart that we were told had cables running from the cart to under his door. The police officer stated he clearly saw that and thought it may have been a booby-trap. Damn good observation on his part.

I would want to review the hotel security patrol log to ascertain when the last time a security officer patrolled those hallways and checked the stairwells.

There has also been plenty of talk about the hotel surveillance system.

If indeed the Mandalay Bay has cameras in the guest rooming areas, and I believe they do, then all the movements of anyone going in or out of the gunman’s room, 32-135, has already been reviewed and investigators have that information. That’s all persons entering the room including housekeeping. And of course, they would have the video of the S/O getting shot.

Another investigative tool they would use would be to interrogate the door lock. All the information stored in the electronic lock would be downloaded and that would give you what key was used to access the door, the date, time and some other data. Guest, security, housekeeping and any other hotel personnel who put a keycard in the lock, they would have all that information.

How many meals did the gunman order from room service and for how many people?

All that would be moot if indeed they have surveillance video. There would be no question as to who went in and out of the room.

This is just some of the information that would be available to not only the police but the MGM investigators who are conducting their own investigation for risk management purposes.

Why the police were not notified if indeed that is the case is the million-dollar question. One fact is certain. The police would have known that there was an active shooter at the Mandalay Bay prior to him opening fire on the music festival.

 

 

 


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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