Police respond to Baltimore Post-Examiner's questions on Stephen Paddock’s locked adjoining room - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Police respond to Baltimore Post-Examiner’s questions on Stephen Paddock’s locked adjoining room

LAS VEGAS The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s responded Thursday to a request filed on Monday by the Baltimore Post-Examiner for an explanation of the locked adjoining room, 32-134 to gunman Stephen Paddock’s suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

LVMPD spokesman Larry Hadfield told the Baltimore Post-Examiner, referring to the 81-page preliminary investigative report that was released last Friday, “Take it for what it’s worth.”

The preliminary investigative report I contend provided ample evidence that Paddock was responsible for the murder of 58 people and the wounding and injuring of 851 others. However, about room 32-134 that adjoined Paddock’s suite and was locked and secured according to that same report, the report leaves that unanswered. It was a loose end that should have been explained.

On January 10 the Baltimore Post-Examiner published, Neither the police or the FBI have explained the locked door in Stephen Paddock’s suite.

In that story, I referred to a Nov. 2  interview with Clark County Sheriff, Joe Lombardo who runs the LVMPD, that was being conducted by Las Vegas station KLAS-TV’s investigative reporter, George Knapp.

During that interview, Lombardo said that the door inside Paddock’s suite that led to the bedroom area that had the broken-out window that was facing the fuel tanks at the airport was locked and secured and had to be explosively breached by the entry team.

This flew right over the head of Knapp who did not challenge Lombardo on his remark. Knapp should have asked Lombardo how it was possible for someone to get out of a locked room that was locked from the inside, specifically because Paddock’s body was found inside suite 32-135. But that didn’t happen during the interview.

Then last Friday the LVMPD released the preliminary investigative report on the Las Vegas massacre. For the purposes of this story, I am referring to excerpts from that report that only concern room 32-134.

Excerpts as follows

Page 7: A team of officers including a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Operator reached the 32nd floor via the stairwell in the 100-wing. Officers did not hear gunfire coming from room 32-135.

A second explosive breach was utilized to gain access to room 32-134 through the connecting doors. Officers cleared room 32-134 finding several rifles in the room.

The details listed below were gathered from several different sources. [Lock interrogation documents are listed as one of those sources].

Page 8: Paddock booked the connecting room (32-134) for Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. Paddock was set to check out of both rooms on Oct. 2.

Page 11: Oct. 1. At approximately 1337 hours, the room service ticket [#51592684] was closed out for room 32-134 in Danley’s name. The check totaled $67.60 and included two entrees. [Danley was in the Philippines so she could not have been in the room. Two entrees could have meant two people were in the room, however, from prior experience in the industry it would not be uncommon for one person to order two meals].

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.

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

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

Page 12: Approximately 2206 hours. Security Officer Campos began walking down the 100-wing toward Center Core. Paddock fired rounds down the hallway at Security Officer Campos.   Campos was struck in the left calf with a bullet fragment.   He took cover in the alcove between 32-134 and 32-122.

Page 13:   Approximately 2214 hours. Engineer Schuck arrived at the Center Core of the 32nd floor and walked up to the 100-wing toward room 32-135. Engineer Schuck quickly realized it was automatic gunfire. After the gunshots stopped, Security Officer Campos yelled at Engineer Schuck to take cover.

Engineer Schuck turned and took cover in the alcove between rooms 32-119 and 32-117. Paddock fired rounds down the hallway at Engineer Schuck. He was not struck by gunfire.

Page 14:   Approximately 2215 hours. Paddock fired two separate volleys of an unknown number of rounds into the Las Vegas Village area.

Approximately 2216 hours. LVMPD Officers Varsin and Hendrex along with Mandalay Bay security officers made entry into the stairwell on the 31st floor.

Approximately 2257 hours. K-9 Sergeant Bitsko and SWAT Officer Hancock manually breached the door [Fire stairwell door adjacent to Paddock’s suite] barricaded with the “L” bracket.

Page 15:   Approximately 2326 hours. The Strike Team made a second explosive breach from inside of room 32-135 into 32-134 through the connecting doors.

Page 27:   Below on the 31st floor, LVMPD Officers Varsin and Hendrix along with Security Managers Oelke and Umstott walked up the 100-wing when they heard gunfire coming from the 32nd floor. They moved to the stairwell at the end of the hall. As they got closer to the stairwell, the gunfire continued, and they smelled gunpowder. They entered the 100-wing stairwell and proceeded up to the door of the 32nd floor. They posted up to block any possible escape by the shooter.

Page 30: Team 2 continued through the living area to the right and encountered a closed, locked connecting door leading to the adjoining room 32-134. SWAT Officer Hancock and Officer Walford attempted to kick the door open but determined it was a solid wood door inside a metal frame. It was decided a second explosive breach was needed to gain entry into the adjoining room.

The media request to the LVMPD from the Baltimore Post-Examiner

Question: If the main entry door was dead bolted to Room 32-134, that had to be done from inside that room. Expended cartridges would be from firing inside 32-134 that had the broken window that faced McCarran International Airport. If the connecting door was closed and locked that led to Room 32-134, that had to be done from inside Room 32-134. So, if the main door to that room was dead bolted then how did Paddock get out of that room. Again, the door had to be locked from inside that room, so how did he get out? What am I missing here?

LVMPD response to the Baltimore Post-Examiner

I spoke with LVMPD spokesman Larry Hadfield via telephone. I explained again what was contained in my media request. Hadfield responded that he couldn’t provide anything that specific, that he couldn’t dissect the preliminary report, it was part of the investigation and as the sheriff said there will be a comprehensive report later. Referring to the preliminary report he said, Take it for what it’s worth.”

Conclusion

The lock interrogation reports should clear this up quickly one way or another.

With police in the 100-wing stairwell, the fire door still secured with the “L” bracket and hotel employees in the hallway, I don’t see how it would have been possible for anyone to exit the suite as some have alleged without being seen.

With that, room 32-134 still bothers me. It needs a logical explanation.

The LVMPD and or MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Mandalay Bay Hotel need to release that lock interrogation report immediately. This aspect of the preliminary report right now makes no sense, and the authors of that report should have realized that before they released it to the public.

The preliminary investigative report states the deadbolt to room 32-134 was engaged at 2146 hours. There is no further mention whether the lock interrogations for either room 32-134 or 32-135 showed any activity once the deadbolts were engaged. I want to see the actual lock interrogation reports to confirm if either of those doors was opened prior to the entry team breaching the door to the suite.

If the interrogation reports indicate they were not, then the only logical conclusion is that the connecting door was not locked and secured as the LVMPD stated. Paddock didn’t walk through a freaking wall.

On the other hand, if the lock interrogation reports indicate that the door(s) to either room was opened prior to the entry team, then we have a real problem here. I would hope that is not the case.

To go one step further and the civil attorneys for the victims take note of this.

The preliminary report states several times that Paddock was in and out of the hotel. I would want to check the lock interrogation reports for Paddock’s entire stay at the Mandalay Bay. Check to see if a guest key card, or any key for that matter, was used at any time while Paddock was away from the hotel, i.e. in Mesquite, NV and or his vehicle was gone from the parking area.

As a former criminal investigator, I would never have signed off on the preliminary report without explaining the mystery of room 32-134. Investigators are not mystery writers, there is always an answer and on this, they blew it.

The Mandalay Bay video surveillance footage that is in the possession of both the LVMPD and MGM Resorts International that is referenced in the LVMPD report as one of the sources used to reach their conclusions, should be released.

The families of the victims and the survivors deserve no less.

Never forget the 58 people who were murdered and the 851 who were wounded and or injured in the worst mass shooting in American history that happened on 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
  • Johnny Ferrington

    Lots of arguments here in regard to the deadbolt stuff, but no one is asking how a 64-year-old man breaks two windows made of hurricane-proof glass with a small sledgehammer. Not saying it couldn’t be done, but it certainly could not be done quickly and without creating a tremendous amount of noise. Call me a tin-foil-hat-wearing conspiracy loon, but the official story doesn’t even jibe with basic logic.

  • PhaseV

    No idea where you see the problem, Mr Poppa:
    1) 32-135: main door dead-bolted by Paddock from inside to prevent anyone’s entry in preparation for shooting
    2) 32-134: see above
    3) “Communicating” door: Paddock closed it behind himself, without dead-bolting it, as he moved back from 32-134 to 32-135. The communicating door consists of two doors, each with a spring-loaded latch and a dead-bolt, with handles only on the side facing the respective room. If you move from 32-134 to 32-135 and allow the door to close (i.e. the sprint-loaded latch engages) you can’t open it from 32-135 anymore, because there’s no handle (even though it’s not dead-bolted). Where’s the problem here?

  • Rick

    “If the connecting door was closed and locked that led to Room 32-134, that had to be done from inside Room 32-134.”

    No, it didn’t. If you leave your hotel room and let the door shut without the key, what happens? Right, it locks. What makes you think an adjoining door is any different. And did you notice that the adjoining door on the floor doesn’t even have a door handle on the other side?

    Were you seriously a criminal investigator? The notion makes me shudder to my core.

    • Doug Poppa

      Pardon me but you have no idea what you are talking about. The only way a deadbolt can be engaged on the main entrance door is from inside the room. The connecting room doors both have locks that need to be turned manually to open and close the connecting door from inside each room. The connecting door only have a handle on one side. Go check into a hotel and take a look before you speak! 20 years in the hotel industry and that is the standard.

      • Rick

        I’m pretty sure I do, and I’m positive you made my point for me. I’ve left my key in enough hotel rooms to know that when a hotel door shuts, it locks, deadbolt or no deadbolt. And when you are faced with a door that has no handle on your side it is, for all intents and purposes, locked, regardless of what actual locks it has.

        • Doug Poppa

          You still don’t comprehend what the police report stated. The deadbolt was engaged on room 32-134 at 2146 hours. When you shut a hotel door or it self closes, that does not engage the deadbolt. The deadbolt has to be manually turned from inside the room. The connecting doors are not self closing. The lock does not engage by itself. To lock a connecting room door you have to manually turn the lock, it does not self-lock. So if the deadbolt was engaged on the main entrance door and the lock was engaged on the connecting door inside room 32-134, then how could anybody possibly get out of the room? You can’t. That is it in a nutshell. There is nothing else I can say if you can’t grasp that.

          • Rick

            OMG you’re so dense. You so badly want there to be a conspiracy that you’ve turned off your two remaining brain cells.

            Let me spell it out for you:

            2146: Paddock dead bolts the door into room 134 from the hallway.

            2205-2210: Paddock shoots a bunch of people from room 135, then goes back into 134 and takes some shots at the tanks.
            2210-2215: Paddock goes back into 135, pulls the adjoining door shut (which latches when it closes and cannot be opened from 135 because there is no door handle), and shoots more people from 135.

            Why is that so difficult to understand?

          • Doug Poppa

            This is the last time. If you can’t understand this it’s you who have the problem. YOU CANNOT ENGAGE A DEADBOLT FROM OUTSIDE OF THE ROOM. When a hotel door is shut the lock that engages is NOT THE DEADBOLT. Connecting doors do not self latch. The lock must manually be turned from inside the room. Have a great night.

          • PhaseV

            No idea where you see the problem, Mr Poppa.
            1) 32-135: main door dead-bolted by Paddock from inside to prevent anyone’s entry in preparation for shooting
            2) 32-134: see above
            3) Adjoining door: Paddock closed it behind himself, without dead-bolting it, as he moved back from 32-134 to 32-135. The adjoining door consists of two doors, each with a spring-loaded latch and a dead-bolt, with handles only on the side facing the respective room. If you move from 32-134 to 32-135 and allow the door to close (i.e. the sprint-loaded latch engages) you can’t open it from 32-135 anymore, because there’s no handle (even though it’s not dead-bolted). Where’s the problem here?

          • PhaseV

            Yes, connecting doors do self-latch. You can see the latch in the picture. What would be the point of a handle on the room side, if not to disengage the latch?

          • Doug Poppa

            Phase V. You could be right if the connecting door was not dead bolted. Without the handle to close the door he could have closed it by grasping the bottom of the door and pulling it shut and that would have engaged the spring latch. It’s the only logical explanation. I will give you credit when I update the story. That will end the conspiracy theories about a second person in the room. Great job.

          • Doug Poppa

            Do you have name or do you want to be identified as Phase V.

          • PhaseV

            If you’d like to give a credit, please mention my YouTube channel: “Mr Visual” where I deal with the LV shooting from a scientific perspective.

          • Doug Poppa

            No problem. It’s not going to end the theory that another person was not in the room and shot Paddock and left before the police made entry as some are alleging. The lock interrogation report if they release it will dispel that theory. On another matter look at the door to the main suite 135 after they blew it. It appears fully intact lying on the tile in the doorway. Then in the other two photographs when it is on the carpet it’s in two pieces. After 40 plus stories on this I am getting a little worn out.

          • PhaseV

            The door *looks* intact in the hallway, but if you zoom in very close on it, it already has the break halfway its length, visible as a thin line on the right behind the floor map. I suspect the door broke in half after the breach, but barely held together. The cops then separated the already almost-separated two pieces for easier handling and photographing.

            There’s another door “mystery” which intrigues some people: the fire exit door with the L-bracket has a trim (molding), which (seemingly), most stairwell-facing doors in MB don’t have. There’s a YouTube video called “Las Vegas Shooting – Debunking “L” Bracket Door Photo in New Police Report” that illustrates this “problem”. It doesn’t bother me, as, in my opinion, MB simply replaced an older, plain-on-both-sides, stairwell-facing door with an available hallway-facing type (trim molding on one side).

            Yes, dealing with the LV is tiring. At the same time, it’s hard to let go…

          • Doug Poppa

            TY.

          • Barney Chooch

            Doug, I believe the impression most people had or have, was the the the door to 134 was “deadbolted” and not just closed and locked with the latch. Lombardo painted a picture that it was locked and “secured” and that it required more than two officers kicking it repeatedly to force it open. I also was under the impression it was bolted. I think two or three solid boots tot hat door would have opened it, but its just a supposition. Whether kicking it or affixing an explosive breach, they were still in the line of fire from the other side of the door for more then a few seconds. At this point, Im sure the answer from Lombardo will be it was not deadbolted.

          • Doug Poppa

            It would be impossible to get out of a room if the main door was dead bolted from the inside and the connecting door was also secured with not only the spring latch but the top deadbolt. The lock interrogation for the main door would end this. It is only logical as Rick and Phase V stated that the deadbolt on the connecting door was not engaged. Again, for some reason I was thinking also that the dead bolt was engaged, but that just would not be possible. I am writing another story that will conclude Rick and Phase V are correct. There simply is no other explanation.

          • Rick

            I think the issue here is that when the report said the door was “locked”, that conjures up a certain image in most people’s minds. They assume that means someone actively locked it. But that’s not how regular hotel room doors work (ever leave your hotel room and forget your key?), and certainly not how adjoining room doors work.

            From the point of view of a SWAT team encountering a door that they can’t open, because it has no door handle, it’s “locked”. Maybe not the best word choice, but I doubt they were thinking that they needed to explain every little minute detail of why they needed to breach the door, rather than just opening it.

          • I.T.

            We do not know if it wasn’t a spring bolt not dead bolt on the upper part

            I tried to post links for you but their policy doesn’t allow it

            The guests of M Bay and other Las Vegas hotels mentioned many times the smaller room adjoining doors can lock via card key the same as from the entrance which you get if you rent 2 rooms, but I don’t know if the card key can lock the spring bolt if there’s one

          • PhaseV

            >”that conjures up a certain image in most people’s minds”
            Seems like people tend to relate this to apt / house doors, which are in two possible states: closed (the door is closed but can be opened by pulling on the handle) and locked (the door is closed and can’t be opened by pulling on the handle, i.e dead-bolted, electric lock etc). The communicating door throws a wrench into this common understanding, because there is no handle on the 32-134 door on the 32-135 side.

          • Rick

            How about an explanation of what triggered the door alarm in the stairwell on the door that was supposedly bolted shut with that little latch, that caused Campos to be dispatched in the first place

            It wasn’t the stairwell door. It was another room, 32-129.

          • Barney Chooch

            I have never heard before that the door alarm was for a room, as you indicate 32-129. Is that in the 81 page report? Lombardo never stated in any news briefing it was room 32-129 that Campos was responding to. In fact, in his earliest news briefs he was unclear and not specific as to even what kind of alarm it was, and he referred to the stairway door. So thats news to me.

            Are you stating that every hotel room entry door has an alarm on it? I never heard of that. Please explain how that works, what is the process in which the alarm is set? I have stayed in many hotels in my lifetime and never knew my door was alarmed, never set an alarm myself, and I am very curious how that happens.

            Do have any theory, or actual answer if one was ever given, as to how it is that Shuck was allowed to continue to respond to 32 on a request to check a stuck door 5 minutes after Campos reported to the dispatcher shots were being fired? Campos requested maintenance be sent to check the door when he encountered it, then walked back down and took the elevator back up. He was in the hallway according to Mr Visiuals video for appx. 5 minutes before Shuck arrived and he saved Shucks life with a warning to hide. Mr Visuals timeline has 4-5 minutes between the first shots fired at Campos, and the shots fired at Shuck, why was Shuck not ordered to stay away?

          • Rick

            All the hotel room doors will trigger an alarm if they are held open too long. You won’t hear it, it’s just a notification to security. The report specifically mentions 32-129.

            I don’t have a theory about Schuck, other than there were only 4 minutes between when Campos told his dispatcher that he heard shots, and when Schuck reached the 32nd floor, and the security dispatcher probably though it more important to notify the police than to notify Engineering.

          • I.T.

            You might as well give a “credit” to few you tubers who said before mr. Visual that adjoining door could’ve closed by the draft between 2 windows after Paddock removed whatever was propping that door and walked into 135. Only why removing the propper before killing yourself?

            And no, conspiracy doesn’t end here, and although I think the most of conspiracists are slightly mad, this case is really something.

            I want to see the picture of the 134’s opposite of the adjoining door wall behind that marble panel, and the corresponding wall of adjoining room 132. I want to see the wall behind that big mirror in 134.
            I want to see the adjoining door lock interrogation (history) while Paddock was out, as you already suggested
            I want to know if they found a story foam ball Paddock bought before the shooting.
            I want to know if they found the 2nd glove matching the one on the counter.
            I want to see where are the rest of 20 + suitcases he brought into the rooms.
            I want to know if they matched the exampler prints of the corpse with another set of fingerprints Paddock had anywhere else besides CIA database (while working there as a pilot ) and if they matched them to his brother’s Bruce ones.
            I want to see just one surveillance video of Paddock, from that time period, not necessarily with the suitcases but just to assess his body mass.
            I want to know if police checked all the guests and IDed everyone when they were clearing the 32 floor
            These are just highlights

          • Rick

            “You could be right if the connecting door was not dead bolted.”

            No one ever said that it was bolt. All that was necessary for it to need to be breached was for it to be closed. It was perfectly logical for Paddock to close it after he gave up on shooting out of 134, because it put another obstacle between him and the police. He probably also closed the door on the 135 side.

          • I.T.

            It’s true, there was nothing in the report saying adjoining door was deadbolted. But can you tell from the photo whether this door works with electronic key (same as to the room entrance door) or there’s a mechanical knob on the handle on 134 side that you have to rotate manually? I dont’ know what to argue about if you dont’ have this information.

            I’d presume it’s an electronic key but there are some adjoining doors, even in upscale suites, that have a mechanical knob. This is the case with Delano hotel adjoining suites, that Paddock checked before booking rooms in MB, there’re some vids online

          • Rick

            There’s no electronic key for the adjoining doors. The door can only be opened from one side. In order for the pass through to be fully opened, you have to open both doors, one from each sid. The inside face of the door just has a metal plate.

            What vids? Post a link.

          • Dave

            The connecting door was not deadbolted as evidenced in the photo of it..

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