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.
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