Las Vegas police provided false information to judge about mass shooting - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas police provided false information to judge about mass shooting

LAS VEGAS — The 300 pages of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department search warrants and the affidavits for probable cause relating to Stephen Paddock and the Oct. 1 Las Vegas massacre revealed that police saw Stephen Paddock ‘place a gun go his head fire one round.”

Sergeant Jerry MacDonald made that observation.

MacDonald’s statement was a revelation, as the public was told numerous times by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo who runs the LVMPD, that Paddock was found dead on the floor when officers breached his suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, one hour and five minutes after the last shots were fired.

That entry to Paddock’s suite, 32-135 was made with only one member of the 40-man LVMPD SWAT Team who used patrol officers as an ad-hoc SWAT Team, because the full SWAT TEAM was a no-show.

The night of the worst mass shooting in American history when the full SWAT Team was needed to breach the room where the shots were originating, they were not there. To this day Sheriff Lombardo has not explained why the LVMPD SWAT Team was not available.

On Wednesday Sgt. Jerry MacDonald told the Las Vegas Review Journal that, “He absolutely killed himself before anyone got into the room.” “No one witnessed that act.” “That night was crazy. You get information coming in. It’s fluid, and none of it is confirmed. And that’s par for the course when you’re doing telephonic search warrants. You base those search warrants based on what you believed up to that point.”

As a former criminal investigator who has been the affiant on scores of search warrants while on the job in Virginia, Sgt. MacDonald’s responses to the LVRJ require some scrutiny.

MacDonald stated unconfirmed information, the night was crazy, and par for the course as an excuse for providing what turned out to be, false information to a judge.

Probable cause requirements are the same whether on a written affidavit or a sworn oral statement such as given for telephonic search warrant.

Rumor, innuendo and here say are not facts.

In his statements to the LVRJ MacDonald made no mention of who “they” were, which officer(s) told him that officers observed Paddock commit suicide. MacDonald used that statement as part of his basis for the probable cause for the warrant.

Defense attorneys attack search warrants all the time. They scrutinize the officer under oath who applied for the warrant in an attempt to prove any type of misconduct. If the court agrees the police committed misconduct, it can disregard any evidence found from the unlawful search and could result in the entire case being dismissed.

Let’s review what that Application for Telephonic Search Warrant states.

Sgt. MacDonald was requesting a search warrant to search rooms 32-134 and 32-135 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Paddock’s vehicle that was in the Valet parking area.

Keep in mind that this was a criminal investigation into the murder and wounding of scores of people. Nobody had any idea that night if Paddock had acted alone or in concert with others yet unknown. Just like in any criminal investigation everything you do has to be exact and precise. Any error whether intentional or unintentional could jeopardize possible criminal prosecutions.

Excerpts as follows:

The following is the transcription of the recorded Application for Telephonic Search Warrant between Affiant, Detective Sergeant Jerry MacDonald, and District Court Judge Nancy Alf.

Judge Alf, um, do you understand that this phone call’s being recorded?

Yes.

Uh, Judge, this is Sergeant Jerry MacDonald, P# 4660, of the LVMPD’s Force Investigation Team. I am making an application for a Telephonic Search Warrant pursuant to NRS 179.045 under Event# 170…1001-3519. I’m talking to Judge Nancy Alf, and the date is October the 2nd, with the time being 0302 hours. And Judge would you please place me under oath?

Please raise your right hand.

Go ahead, ma’am.

Promise the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?

Yes, I do. Thank you. Okay. Judge, as previously stated, my name is Sergeant Jerry MacDonald, P# 4660, and I’m employed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and have been so employed for the last 24 years. I’m currently assigned to the Force Investigation Team and have been so for the last three years.

And Judge, my application is as follows:

That on October 1, 2017, I was called out and responded to the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino located at 3950 S. Las Vegas Boulevard, in Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada, and arrived at said location at approximately 2216 hours to assume the responsibility of investigating a possible officer-involved shooting and an active shooter situation on the Las Vegas Strip, specifically the Route 91 country music concert.

Force Investigation Team detectives and crime scene analysts were requested and have responded to conduct an investigation, collect evidence, and document the crime scene.

In support of your affiant’s assertion to constitute the existence of probable cause, the following facts are offered:

As SWAT officers breached room 135, they observed Stephen Paddock place a gun to his head and fire one round.

I, Detective Sergeant Jerry MacDonald, having reviewed this transcription, affirm it is true and correct.

Conclusion

MacDonald stated he was called out to investigate a possible officer-involved shooting and arrived at the Mandalay Bay Hotel at approximately 2216 hours. [Paddock fired his last shots at 2215 hours according to the LVMPD preliminary report.]

That was a commendable response, the LVMPD SWAT Team should have followed suit.

How could that have been a possible officer-involved shooting when the ad-hoc SWAT Team didn’t breach Paddock’s suite until 1120 hours, one hour and five minutes after the last shots were fired.

So that part of his sworn testimony cannot be true.

Three-and-a-half hours after Paddock’s suite was breached at 0302 hours, MacDonald is applying for the telephonic search warrant and states to the judge that officers observed Paddock place a gun to his head and fire one round.

The first time the public heard any of this was three days ago when the documents were released. Then on Wednesday MacDonald tells the press it was all a mistake.

He is not going to get off that easy. I want to know the names of the officer(s) who told him that police officers witnessed Paddock’s suicide. Then I want to hear from them. We need to get answers on this.

Sgt. Jerry MacDonald is a twenty-four-year member of the LVMPD and has been a member of the Force Investigation Team that investigates officer-involved shootings for three years.

Three-and-a-half hours after entry was made into room 32-135, the sergeant whose team investigated Paddock’s death and who was one of the authors of the 81-page preliminary police report, all he has to say in response to providing false information to a judge is that it was a crazy night and par for the course.

What was MacDonald doing for those three-and-a-half hours at the Mandalay Bay?

As part of the investigating team investigating Paddock’s death, wouldn’t he have responded to room 32-135?

Did he interview any police officers? He must have, somebody, told him that “they,” meaning the entry team, witnessed Paddock’s suicide.

We need to get to the bottom of this. A statement was made that was not true.

Is this a case of blatant perjury or incompetence?

Is Sheriff Joe Lombardo going to tell us to just forget it and move forward as he has done in the past referring to Stephen Paddock? Or should we just take it for what it’s worth as the LVMPD press information officer told the Baltimore Post-Examiner last week referring to the 81-page preliminary police report?

Or maybe we just place it in the no answer file, along with where was the LVMPD SWAT Team the night of the worst mass shooting in American history, why did an experienced SWAT officer have a negligent discharge in Paddock’s suite, what police officers leaked photographs of the crime scene to the press compromising a major criminal investigation, why did the LVMPD borrow armored vehicles from a private company the night of October 1, and etc., etc., etc.

Paddock’s autopsy report still not released

A Clark County District Court judge ordered Clark County Coroner, John Fudenberg on Tuesday to release Paddock’s autopsy report and those of the 58 victims of the massacre. Fudenberg didn’t do it on Tuesday and stated that Paddock’s autopsy hasn’t been finalized. He already ruled Paddock’s death as a suicide, his body has been cremated and his brother picked up his ashes weeks ago.

So, what’s not finalized? Something appears amiss here, and I am starting to wonder if Paddock’s autopsy report is being manipulated. Remember the coroner had no intention of ever releasing that report to the public, he was forced to by the court.

On Wednesday Fudenberg released the autopsy reports of the 58 victims. He did not release Paddock’s autopsy report. It was not released on Thursday.

I guess the coroner must think that he is immune from following the order of the court.

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

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.
COMMENT POLICY

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