MGM Resorts International statements conflict with Las Vegas police report - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

MGM Resorts International statements conflict with Las Vegas police report

LAS VEGAS — On October 12, 2017, MGM Resorts International (MGMRI), the owners of the Mandalay Bay Hotel where Stephen Paddock fired down upon the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival from his 32ndfloor suite issued the following statement:

We know that shots were being fired at the festival lot at the same time as, or within 40 seconds after, the time Jesus Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio.  Metro officers were together with armed Mandalay Bay security officers in the building when Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio. These Metro officers and armed Mandalay Bay security officers immediately responded to the 32nd floor.

MGMRI provided no corroborating evidence at that time as to how they arrived at that conclusion.

On August 3, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department released its final criminal investigative report on the October 1 massacre.

We now know, according to the police report, that the two Metro officers that MGMRI refers to are LVMPD Officers Cordell Hendrex and Elif Varsin.  The armed Mandalay Bay security officers who were with Hendrex and Varsin were Security Operations Manager, Anthony Sottile, and Assistant Security Managers, George Umstott and Michael Oelke.

The MGMRI statement states, “These Metro officers and armed Mandalay Bay security officers immediately responded to the 32nd floor.”  Not according to the police report.

From the police report: The officers and security personnel entered the Center Core guest elevators and were again advised the shooter was on the 32nd floor. The officers made a decision to respond to the 31stfloor and take the stairwell to the 32nd floor.

Campos already had called in that the shots were coming from 32-135 and as the police report indicates they were again advised that the shooter was on the 32nd floor.  Hendrex, Varsin, Umstott, Oelke and an unidentified security supervisor who is not mentioned in the police report, all exited the elevator onto the 31st floor.

Sottile remained on the elevator and exited on the 32nd floor with Shannon Alsbury, the maintenance supervisor [unarmed].  It’s an active shooter call and everybody gets off on the 31stfloor except Sottile who goes to the 32nd floor without the police in the company of Allsbury.

The following is the timeline in part, that is documented in the final police report.  There are no footnotes in the report to indicate what evidence the police used to confirm the timeline.

Campos entered the service elevator at 9:46 p.m. and got off on the 30th floor at 9:47 p.m.  Campos walked to the stairwell in the 100 Wing of the 30th floor and walked up to the 32nd floor.  Campos could not gain entry to the 32nd  floor door due to the door being barricaded.  [The police do not give an exact time this happened, however, Sheriff Joe Lombardo stated on a November 2, 2017 television interview that 9:59 p.m. was when Campos encountered the barricaded door, but Lombardo never elaborated on how he knew that exact time.]  Campos walked down the 100 Wing of the 33rd floor to Center Core.  He took a guest elevator to the 32nd floor.

10:00 p.m. Campos exited the guest elevator and walked up the 100 Wing toward Room 32-129.  Campos checked 32-129 and found it was secure. Campos walked into the foyer leading to the stairwell and observed the “L” bracket on the screwed into the door and frame.

At 10:04 p.m. Campos picked up a house phone located inside the small foyer leading to the stairwell and called security dispatch to report the “L” bracket on the door to the stairs. Security dispatch transferred the call to maintenance dispatch.  The maintenance dispatcher then transferred Campos to the maintenance supervisor’s [Shannon Alsbury] cell phone.

The Mandalay Bay Hotel has no surveillance cameras on the individual guest floors.  They do have surveillance cameras in their guest and service elevators that are time/date stamped and the police probably used this to corroborate the timeline in part.

An MGMRI employee told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that the FBI seized all the surveillance digital video recorders from the Mandalay Bay Hotel surveillance room after the massacre.  I will have a more on that in an upcoming story.

10:05 p.m. Paddock fired two single gunshots into the Las Vegas Village area. Paddock fired an undetermined amount of gunshots into the Las Vegas area.

10:06 p.m. Security Officer Campos ended the phone call and hung up the house phone.  Security Campos heard what he described as rapid drilling noises.   Security Officer Campos began walking down the 100 Wing toward the Center Core.  Paddock fired rounds down the hallway at Campos.  Campos told his dispatcher via his radio, “Hey, there’s shots fired in, uh, 32-135”.

10:07 p.m. LVMPD Officers Varsin and Hendrex left the Mandalay Bay Security Office with two armed Mandalay Bay security officers.

10:11 p.m.  LVMPD Varsin and Hendrex arrived at Center Core area of the 31stfloor and began walking up the 100 Wing, along with armed security officers from Mandalay Bay [Assistant Security Managers, Mike Oelke, George Umstott and another armed supervisor who was not mentioned or identified in the police report].

10:12 p.m.  Officer Hendrex and a Mandalay Bay security officer advised over their respective radios they were on the 31stfloor and could hear rapid gunfire above them. [Hendrex, Varsin, Mandalay Bay armed security supervisors Umstott, Oelke and the unidentified supervisor retreated on the 31stfloor and failed to take any action to get to the 32ndfloor.]

10:16 p.m.  LVMPD Officers Varsin and Hendrex, along with Mandalay Bay security officers, made entry into the stairwell on the 31stfloor. [Paddock’s gunfire had stopped by this time.]

The police report does not mention in the timeline the time Campos called into security dispatch on his cell phone and told them that he was shot with a BB or pellet gun.  Keep in mind when he called in over the radio, he did not advise security dispatch that he was shot.  That’s odd and also that Campos heard gunfire then gets shot and says he was shot with a BB or pellet gun.

Analysis

The critical issue has been the timeline concerning Mandalay Bay Security Officer, Jesus Campos’ movements prior to Paddock opening fire, when he called into security dispatch and then when did Mandalay Bay Security notify the LVMPD of the location of the gunfire.

The police report states Paddock opened fire starting at 10:05 p.m. and Campos hung up the telephone in the foyer of the fire stairwell at 10:06 p.m. and then Campos heard drilling noises.

If Paddock opened fire at 10:05 and Campos hung up the telephone at 10:06 then how come Campos didn’t hear the gunfire that the police report states started at 10:05.  I have no answer for that or how gunfire from a semi-automatic rifle can be mistaken for drilling noises, specifically when you consider that the fire stairwell is adjacent to Paddock’s suite, 32-135.

The police report states that Campos called in by radio and told security dispatch that shots were coming from 32-135 at 10:06 p.m.

The LVMPD Communications Center log indicates that at 10:16:54 p.m. which is well over one minute after the gunfire stopped at 10:15 p.m., ‘THIS PR IS SEC @ Mandalay Bay // ****SHOOTER IN ROOM 32135****’. That is the first time that the LVMPD dispatch log indicates the exact location of the gunfire as called in by Mandalay Bay Security.

Let’s revisit Campos’ transcript of his recorded statement to the police:

“As I was approaching the stairwell from the 31stfloor to the 32nd floor, the door that leads to the stairwell to the hallway was locked or secured – locked.  And I thought it was out of the ordinary because those doors are always open.  So, I dropped down to the 31st floor.” [The police report notes that statement was incorrect. Campos went up to the 33rd floor.]

The fire door being secured was much more than just “out of the ordinary” as Campos stated.  It was a major health and safety violation and Campos without hesitation should have notified his dispatch immediately prior to walking away.  Not doing so was negligent.  If Campos was in the 32nd floor stairwell at 9:59 p.m. as Lombardo had said, had Campos notified security dispatch that should have set off a chain of events; a security supervisor responding and maintenance to the scene.  That was six minutes before Paddock opened fire if we can believe that timeline.

What did Campos tell the police he did about the drilling noises coming from Paddock’s room?

Campos:  At that moment in time, I heard noises which I assumed were drills or like, very loud drill.  So, I started walking away from the room.  

Police:  So, you hear loud drilling coming from 32-135.  Could you tell if it was deep in the room or right by the doors?

Campos:  It was deep in the room… and it was pretty – pretty rapidly.

Police:  So, you hear this – you obviously know that it’s not a normal sound — so you start walking down the hallway, toward the center core?

Campos:  Yes.

Campos heard suspicious noises emanating from a guest room, fails to take any action, doesn’t call it in, doesn’t investigate and just walks away.  If that’s not a case for negligent security I don’t know what is.

The timeline concerning Campos is not definitive enough for me.  We don’t have the surveillance video from the service and guest elevators, his cell phone records, all the security recorded radio transmissions and security dispatch logs.

Keep in mind that the recording system used to record the radio transmissions from Mandalay Bay security and maintenance, the time/date stamp was compromised as reported by the Baltimore Post-Examiner in our July 8 article, Compromised evidence raises questions about Mandalay Bay security training, policies, and equipment’.


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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