Petitions filed in court to get answers on the Las Vegas massacre - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Petitions filed in court to get answers on the Las Vegas massacre

LAS VEGAS: The Las Vegas Review-Journal,  The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, CNN and ABC News last week filed separate petitions in Clark County District Court in Nevada seeking the release of police records relating to the Oct. 1 worst mass shooting in United States history.

Since the massacre that left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured, both the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI have kept those records secret and thus far have refused to turn anything over to the media.

The affidavits for the search warrants that were executed on Stephen Paddocks hotel room, houses in Reno and Mesquite, Nevada, and Paddock’s vehicle have been sealed.

The time coded LVMPD 911 Communications Center recordings of telephone calls and the police dispatcher the night of Oct. 1, have yet to be released.

We have not seen any of the Mandalay Bay hotel video surveillance recordings and security dispatch logs that Sheriff Joe Lombardo has referred to numerous times in press briefings.

MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Mandalay Bay haven’t released any corroborating evidence to support their press releases and no information about the falsified security dispatch log.

Questions remain when and if Mandalay Bay housekeeping staff had entered Paddock’s room during his almost one week stay in the hotel before the shooting and did they see anything suspicious.

Las Vegas hotels as a matter of policy, keep logs of when a housekeeper enters a guest room for service.

Whether a do-not-disturb tag was placed by Paddock at any time during his stay on his room door, has not been confirmed.

Denying access to a room or refusing service is a suspicious indicator that criminal or terrorist activity may be taking place in the hotel room.

That has been one of many advisories that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has provided to the hotel and lodging industry for well over ten years.

No records have been released by the hotel on Paddock’s deliveries of food to his room during his stay. Sheriff Lombardo admitted that at least on the night of October 1, there was a room service cart outside Paddock’s room that did have food service for two. Lombardo blew that off stating to a local reporter that probably Paddock liked to eat.

Hotel registration records of Stephen Paddock have not been released nor has any records indicating whether he specifically requested room 32-135 or it was randomly assigned to him.

That is a key factor in the investigation, since that room has views of the concert arena and McCarron International Airport.

I am skeptical by nature because of my background so, at this point we cannot take the word of Sheriff Lombardo, the FBI or MGM Resorts International on anything.

Records and evidence can be altered, falsified or come up missing.

There have been previous allegations that LVMPD officials altered and destroyed 911 Communications Center records in a different matter, allegedly to cover-up a crime, which is a crime in the state of Nevada.

We need to see the documentation, video and audio recordings related to every aspect of this investigation. That includes body-worn camera footage of any officer that entered Paddocks room and any video recorded by other means by police personnel.

Audio recordings of any other LVMPD radio traffic including any encrypted channels used the night of the massacre.

Crime scene forensic reports as well as the coroner’s investigation, x-rays and reports of Paddock’s body need to be released.

As of this date we are told Paddock was the lone gunman. He is dead. The FBI stated that they found no connection to any groups. No criminal prosecution perceived as of this date.

It’s time for previously withheld information to be released to the public so all of it can be independently verified.

Questions that need answers are many including:

Why was the LVMPD homicide division not involved in the death investigation of 58 people and the alleged suicide of Stephen Paddock?

Why was the investigation given to the LVMPD Force Investigation Team that investigates officer involved shootings and use of force?

The Force Investigation Team conveniently answers to Bureau Commander, Capt. Kelly McMahill, the wife of Clark County Undersheriff, Kevin McMahill, the number two man running the LVMPD.

Still questions linger about the exact time that Mandalay Bay Security Officer, Jesus Campos was fired upon and reportedly shot in the leg and all the convoluted timelines associated with that.

Why did it take Sheriff Lombardo one month to admit that an officer fired his weapon inside Paddock’s suite but has so far refused to give any specifics?

Lombardo and McMahill both have told the media numerous times that the SWAT Team entered Paddock’s room when it was breached.

Then we were told it was an ad-hoc team of K-9 and patrol officers who never worked together before who entered the room. That was verified when four of those officers appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes the Sunday following the attack.

Where was the SWAT Team that night, were they involved in another operation that we were not told about or was it that enough members responded, and the entry was left to the ad-hoc entry team.

Lombardo downplayed the other active shooter calls that were coming into the Communications Center that night, which started after Paddock had ceased firing. Several of those calls were specific and came from police officers and fire personnel themselves.

Who called in those active shooter calls, was it the same voice or a group of same voices? Could this have been an orchestrated effort to learn how the police would react tactically?

What’s the status of that investigation, or is there one?

Could there have been another attack planned that night and for some unknown reason it was called off?

Why were the tactical movements of police both inside the Mandalay Bay and outside broadcasted unencrypted that night for anyone to monitor?

That not only could have put the lives of the police officers in jeopardy but also the public.

Why did the LVMPD request additional armored vehicles from a private company during the time the other active shooter calls were coming in to the 911 Communications Center?

The biggest question is why Stephen Paddock brought 23 weapons into his room for just a one-man operation. It was overkill. Why would he stop shooting after ten minutes, then kill himself when he still had sufficient ammunition to continue firing and or engage police, remains extremely puzzling to me.

What were the circumstances surrounding the mysterious suspect in fatigues the police were chasing into an RV off Tropicana Boulevard right after the shooting?

There are too many unanswered questions about Paddock’s actions and why the police waited over one-hour and ten minutes to enter Paddock’s room, specifically since the sheriff has said they wanted to make entry to prevent Paddock from reloading so he couldn’t continue his firing.

If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit, remember that quote?

In this case there is plenty that just doesn’t fit.

Every time Lombardo opens his mouth all we are left with is more questions.

Lies, misleading and deceptive comments from law enforcement further exacerbates an already skeptical public.

Never forget the 58 people who died that night and all the others who were injured.


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
  • Joanie Adams

    I would also like to say thank you for actually investigating and asking questions, which few seem to be doing. These poor people did not deserve to be put through this and it just breaks my heart. Another question I have is concerning the report from dispatch of someone being on the roof at the Tropicana. These people and their families deserve to know what happened and so does the rest of the country. Thank you so much for helping to keep this in the headlines. People seem to move on so quickly!

  • Phxman

    I’d just like to say thanks for your ongoing probing coverage of the Las Vegas shooting. It has always been puzzling why other large outlet reporters don’t question more of the obvious evasions and inconsistencies in the LV authorities “information”. It has been pretty apparent that the LVPD is mainly there to srrve the casino / business interests in Vegas.
    One item I would like to see added to your list– What are the specifics, timing and magnitude of Paddocks gambling losses? The LVPD is now admitting that they were substantial (after pretending for a month that they didn’t know). Obviously Paddock was a gambling addict, and it now appears he, like so many others, may have had his wealth destroyed by the casinos and his addiction. This is not a narrative the casinos want emphasized, so the Sheriff is now questiong the family mental heath history…

    • Doug Poppa

      Thank you. Noted.

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