MGM Resorts International rebukes massacre victims' lawyers - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

MGM Resorts International rebukes massacre victims’ lawyers

On Thursday MGM Resorts International, the owners of the now infamous Mandalay Bay Hotel where gunman Stephen Paddock reigned down his 600 seconds of terror from his suite, finally released some hotel surveillance video of Paddock.

From hundreds of hours of surveillance video that is in the possession of MGMRI and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, MGMRI decided to release only several minutes of highly edited video footage of Paddock inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel during his stay.

The footage was released to The New York Times by MGMRI and was not released to the attorneys who are representing the victims of the October 1, 2017, Las Vegas massacre who have been requesting video surveillance and other evidence for months from MGMRI with no luck.

The LVMPD released a statement on Thursday and stated that MGMRI owned the surveillance video and that they had the right to release it. The LVMPD said they would not be commenting on the footage and neither would Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo who runs the department.

Lombardo not commenting is a smart move.

His prior false, contradictory, misleading and convoluted statements throughout his department’s criminal investigation of the worst mass shooting in modern American history, only fanned the flames of conspiracy theories while other police actions compromised the integrity of the investigation and put into question the professionalism of some in the LVMPD.

Lombardo is seeking re-election this year for a second term as Clark County Sheriff.

It might be interesting to see if Lombardo is ever scrutinized and challenged for his past comments, incompetence and the police misconduct by some of his officers during the criminal investigation. He pretty much has been given a pass by the local media.

Currently, there are two other candidates who also are running for sheriff; retired LVMPD Detective Gordon Martines, a 30- year police veteran and retired Lt. Tim Bedwell of the North Las Vegas Police Department, a 20-year police veteran who is also a retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant.

The released surveillance footage does show Paddock bringing in numerous pieces of luggage into the Mandalay Bay, at times with the help of a bellman and other times by himself. That luggage the police contend contained the 23 firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition, some that was used by Paddock when he murdered 58 people and wounded hundreds of others the night of October 1 when he fired from inside rooms 32-134 and 32-135 at the Mandalay Bay.

The video footage also showed Paddock driving his vehicle into the Valet Parking area and removing luggage from that vehicle. Explosive materials were recovered from inside his vehicle by the police after the massacre.

The surveillance footage does corroborate in part some of the details documented in the 81-page LVMPD Preliminary Investigative Report on the October 1 massacre that was released in January.

Victims attorney responds

On Thursday evening I was a guest on Tucker Carlson Tonight on the Fox News Channel along with California attorney Catherine Lombardo, one of several attorneys representing the victims of the massacre.

Lombardo (no relation to Sheriff Joe Lombardo) was not at all happy with MGMRI’s decision not to release all the video footage they possess, and she criticized why the edited video was released to the New York Times and not to the victim’s attorneys.

Lombardo said on the show she thought it was a public relations stunt and that she was shocked that MGMRI released the video to the New York Times and not to the lawyers who have been asking for video surveillance recordings for months. Lombardo said there are over 700 hours of video and questioned why MGMRI released just a few minutes of edited video and why they did that at this time.

Lombardo said that she was concerned for her clients who are all victims and suffering, still today from PTSD and the symptoms that come along from that. She said she was worried for her clients, the victims to see the video without warning.

The lock interrogation reports

Thursday night on Tucker Carlson Tonight, I said that I was more concerned with the lock interrogation reports for Paddock’s rooms and not so much on the video at this point.

The lock interrogation reports have not been released by MGMRI nor the LVMPD, even though the police referenced the LI reports in their Preliminary Investigative Report.

The Baltimore Post-Examiner was the first media outlet to raise the issue of how the lock interrogation reports can put to rest once and for all if someone else was inside Paddock’s rooms and left before the police made entry. I raised this issue again on Tucker Carlson Tonight.

On Friday I was a guest on The Pat Campbell Show, Talk Radio 1170, Tulsa, OK. and once again spoke of the importance of the lock interrogation reports.

I will explain in more depth here why the lock interrogation reports, I contend, are extremely important.

A lock interrogation report is used in the hotel industry as an investigative aid when the need arises to ascertain when a guest room was accessed. A lock interrogation would give the date, the time and what key card was used to open the electronic locking system on the room door. Any key card that was used to open the door, whether it be a guest key card, housekeeping, bell, maintenance, security, etc. would be recorded in the lock.

When the information from the door lock is downloaded, a lock interrogation report can also tell you if the deadbolt that is on the inside of the room door was engaged, disengaged and or if the room door opened. A guest can only turn the deadbolt from inside the room.

The adjoining room doors at the Mandalay Bay are not equipped with electronic locks and therefore no information can be obtained.

What is the importance of lock interrogation reports in this case?

There are no video surveillance cameras at the Mandalay Bay Hotel on the actual guest rooming floors. The only cameras are at the elevator cores. There is no definitive way to determine who or how many people are entering or exiting a room. The fire stairwells also are not covered by surveillance cameras at the Mandalay Bay. If someone comes onto a floor by way of the stairwells, they will not be detected.

If someone exits an elevator onto a floor you can correlate that timestamped surveillance video footage with the time the room door was accessed, and you can then deduct that the guest entered the room.

A lock interrogation can only tell you what key card was used to access the room and it cannot identify the actual person who has possession of the key card.

In the LVMPD Preliminary Investigative Report, the detectives make note they used lock interrogation reports during their investigation and used those reports to draw some of the conclusions in their report.

There is no question that those lock interrogation reports exist and are in the possession of MGMRI and the LVMPD.

Those lock interrogation reports for Paddock’s entire stay can be used to determine if his rooms were accessed when he was away from the rooms and or off property and more importantly for the night of the massacre, October 1.

According to the LVMPD Preliminary Investigative Report, on Page 11 they state:

October 1st. From 1423 to 1940 hours, the doors for rooms 32-134 and 32-135 were manipulated multiple times. For example, the doors were opened, closed and the deadbolt locks were engaged and disengaged several times. (The LVMPD gives no reason for this and they didn’t list the times for all this “manipulation”. I want to see the time span between each.)

At approximately 2136 hours, the deadbolt to room 32-135 was engaged.

At approximately 2146 hours, the deadbolt to room 32-134 was engaged.

The police report does not indicate if the deadbolts were disengaged and or if either room door was opened during or after the shooting stopped and prior to the police breaching the rooms one hour and five minutes after the last shots were fired.

That missing information is crucial, and I am perplexed as to why it was not included in the Preliminary Investigative Report. I would have included that in the report and that inclusion would have dispelled any doubt that Paddock was inside those rooms alone.

If the lock interrogation reports for rooms 32-134 and 32-135 do indicate that the deadbolts on both doors were never disengaged and the doors never opened once the deadbolts were engaged (from inside the room) before Paddock opened fire, then that would dispel any notion that anyone exited the rooms prior to the police breaching the doors.

I still believe based on all the facts that have been released thus far that Stephen Paddock was the lone shooter who fired from his 32nd-floor hotel rooms onto the Route 91 Music Festival and the lock interrogation reports will hopefully confirm my belief.

If the lock interrogation reports indicate otherwise, then we are in for another ballgame, so to speak.

To give some piece of mind, if that is even possible, to the victims, the survivors and the families of those who were killed, then I implore MGM Resorts International and Sheriff Joe Lombardo to do the right thing and release the lock interrogation reports immediately, so we can put an end to all this speculation once and for all.

On Friday Catherine Lombardo told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that the releasing of a few minutes of edited surveillance video by MGMRI was a “self-serving PR stunt,” when for months they have been requesting video surveillance and other evidence from MGMRI to no avail. Lombardo said she and other attorneys for victims of the massacre still have not been granted access to rooms 32-134 and 32-135 at the Mandalay Bay.

Final thoughts

From the outset of that horrible night here in Las Vegas, numerous social media sites have exploited this tragedy to further their own agenda and to profit by spreading outlandish conspiracy theories that aren’t even worth mentioning.

Whether they call themselves citizen journalists and or independent investigative journalists makes no difference. Some of these websites are monetized so they need to perpetuate unsubstantiated nonsense at the expense of those who were killed and wounded on October 1.

One of the most disgraceful and irresponsible actions were the personal attacks on Mandalay Bay Security Officer, Jesus Campos, impugning the man’s character and integrity, accusing him of being an illegal alien, using a fictitious social security number and being an unlicensed security officer.

Campos was employed for two years by MGMRI prior to the massacre, he is not an illegal alien and he was not using a fictitious SSN. Anyone with any level of knowledge about the Las Vegas hotel security industry would have known that when you are employed by a private corporation no license is needed, only if you work for a contract security company, which Campos did not. Employees go through a thorough background investigation before they are hired, I know I conducted thousands of them over the years.

I have said for months that the massacre should never have happened, security measures should have been implemented years ago to prevent explosives, weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition from being brought onto any hotel property.

It was foreseeable and preventable. I can only hope the Las Vegas hotel/casino industry learned something from this tragedy.

I have been extremely critical in the past few months of Sheriff Joe Lombardo. That being said, I did agree with him when he said that this was preventable on many levels.

Never forget the 58 people who died and the over 800 who were wounded and or injured on the Las Vegas Strip, October 1, 2017, in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

 

 

 

 

 


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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