Stephen Paddock’s locked room probably no mystery after all - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Stephen Paddock’s locked room probably no mystery after all

LAS VEGAS: In the Jan. 26 column I wrote for the Baltimore Post-Examiner I raised the issue of how Stephen Paddock got out of adjoining room 32-134 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel if the main door to that room was dead bolted and the connecting door that led to his vista suite, 32-135 was locked and secured.

As I stated in the article, there had to be a logical explanation.

I assumed that the deadbolt on the connecting door was engaged along with the spring-loaded latch on the door handle that is directly beneath the deadbolt.

Two readers of the article provided a reasonable explanation for how that could have happened. They contend that the deadbolt on the connecting door was probably never engaged. We don’t know this positively, but it is the only logical conclusion. I agree with the readers on that.

Paddock was firing out the windows of both rooms according to the preliminary police report.

According to the lock interrogation report which was referenced in the police report, the deadbolt to room 32-135 was engaged on Oct. 1 at 9:36 p.m. Ten minutes later at 9:46 p.m., the deadbolt to room 32-134 was engaged.

When Paddock was finished firing from 32-134 he could have walked into 32-135 and closed the connecting room door leading to 32-134 which would have engaged the spring-loaded latch on the door.

From inside room 32-135 that connecting door has no door handle for security reasons and that solid wood door with a metal door frame would appear to be locked and secured.

That could explain how Paddock could have gotten out of that room that was locked from the inside. He simply pulled the door shut when he went back into 32-135.

Why and if Paddock did that is anyone’s guess at this point, specifically since the police contend he committed suicide sometime after he stopped firing.

Also, it would not have provided him an extra sense of security from the police if the police had entered from room 32-134 if that was his intention. Anyone from inside 32-134, all they had to do was use the door handle which would have open the door. Then they would have been faced with the connecting door on the 32-135 side which if locked and secured by the deadbolt and the spring-loaded latch would hinder access to 32-135.

We do not know if the connecting door on the 32-135 side was secured when the police breached the room.

The police report makes no mention of that, other than the officers tried to kick in the 32-134 connecting door with no luck and then explosively breached that door.

To dispel any notion of a second person in the rooms with Paddock we must see the actual lock interrogation reports for both room doors to ascertain that once the shooting started neither of the main doors to 32-134 and 32-135 were accessed until the entry team went in an hour and five minutes after the last shots were fired.

I still have concerns why the police waited over an hour to breach Paddock’s suite, it makes no sense.

We were told by Clark County Sheriff, Joe Lombardo who runs the LVMPD and Undersheriff Kevin McMahill that they had to wait for the arrival of the SWAT Team. We now know that the full SWAT Team was a no-show and was not available to enter the rooms of the worst mass shooter in American history.

Lombardo during his interview with KLAS-TV on November 2 stated it was not a barricaded suspect incident contradicting his earlier remarks the month before to the press when he stated it was a barricaded suspect incident.

During that Nov. 2 interview Lombardo said, “In normal practice if we were to execute a search warrant say on a barricaded individual [must be a new police tactic to wait for a search warrant for a barricaded suspect] we could take all the time we need and all the resources to bare to ensure everybody’s safety. In this case, because of what the suspect did, the officers made the decision to breach this doorway of the hotel room in case the guy was reloading because we didn’t want to give him the opportunity to keep on firing.”

That statement made no sense and was another Joe Lombardo lie. We know the police didn’t go in for over an hour, so where was the urgency?

So why am I bringing this up again?

In the LVMPD preliminary report on Page 29, the authors of that report state, “No gunfire had been heard from the suspect’s room for approximately 40 minutes. It was decided entry was necessary to the room to determine if the suspect was still inside and to stop any further shooting from the room.”  

Just like Lombardo’s statement, that statement in the police report makes no sense. They weren’t sure the suspect was still in the room, so they waited over an hour to find out. They were concerned he might open fire again, yet still waited over an hour.

Sorry guys, that’s just plain wrong.

Just so readers know, the connecting room doors do not have electronic locks as the main room doors do and therefore cannot be interrogated. When I use the term interrogated, that refers to a handheld computing device that is placed into the key card slot on hotel room main doors and downloads the information contained in the electronic lock.

It’s also important to note that Paddock had a monitor inside room 32-134 to view the two cameras he had placed on the room service cart directly outside that room. He also had a monitor inside room 32-135 to view the camera he had placed on the inside peephole to the suite. Both of those cameras gave him views of anyone who would be in the hallway and approaching those two doors.

I have not changed my opinion that Paddock was the lone shooter responsible for the massacre.

The LVMPD should release to the media the lock interrogation reports. They should also release the video showing Paddock bringing the suitcases into the Mandalay Bay as they referenced in the preliminary police report. I don’t see how that would compromise an ongoing investigation. They already admitted that information in their report. Now, show us the evidence to back it up.

Never forget the 58 people who were murdered and the 851 who were wounded and or injured on October 1, 2017, in the worst mass shooting in American history that occurred 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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