Three weeks after the Las Vegas massacre and what do we know? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Three weeks after the Las Vegas massacre and what do we know?

Well, not much except the fact that 58 people are dead and more than 500 injured and domestic terrorist Stephen Paddock was the lone shooter, so we are told.

Paddock murdered 58 people, authorities claim. His act of violence upon the general population was responsible for not only their murders, but for the wounding and all other injuries caused by his actions to over 500 people, police say. As far as I am concerned he committed his crime in Clark County in the State of Nevada. Under the laws of Nevada, he is a domestic terrorist.

I guess it’s more politically correct to call him a mass murderer than a domestic terrorist at least in Las Vegas.

Anything else that we were told at this point is speculation, rumor and in the words of Clark County Sheriff, Joe Lombardo who runs the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, “unverified.”

Instead of giving facts to the public the sheriff decided that he would give us unverified information just to appease the public’s demand for information. He said that himself.

Las Vegas Police found 23 firearms in Paddock’s 32nd floor room at Mandalay Bay. (Police photo)

That was Lombardo’s excuse when he changed the timeline of when Mandalay Bay Security Officer Jesus Campos got shot. At first, Lombardo told us that happened at 9:59 p.m., a full six minutes before he said the gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire on the crowd. Then a week later Lombardo changed that timeline and said that Campos got shot around the same time that Paddock opened fire at 10:05 p.m.

That indeed may be true, but although Lombardo said that the police have evidence that can corroborate that, he provided the press with nothing to back up those assertions.

Then we heard when the LVMPD first interviewed Campos after the shooting something was wrong. The FBI had to bring Campos back in to re-interview him because the FBI realized that the original timeline didn’t purport to what Campos told the LVMPD.

Were the investigators that inexperienced that it took two weeks to come up with an entirely new timeline or is there another agenda here?

It doesn’t sound like the LVMPD detectives I worked with during my 20 years in the casino industry.

Was the FBI responsible for correcting one of the worst public relations nightmares in modern law enforcement history?

The FBI is not without criticism here either.

Less than 24 hours after the massacre the FBI told the media that so far there was no connection between Paddock and any group. Wow, that must be the fastest investigation in FBI history, especially when they said they recovered numerous electronic devices that were being analyzed by the FBI laboratory.

The new timeline if true, seems to favor MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Mandalay Bay, whose major worry right now is lawsuits and their bottom line.

Lombardo at a press conference. (Screenshot Fox News)

They pulled off two publicity stunts by having the two employees who were on the 32nd floor and were shot at, with one being hit, speak on national television. All that did was lead to more questions.

The initial investigation might be nothing more than poor police work, still it should never have taken two weeks to get a definitive timeline.

The national media and local media did a horrible job covering this tragedy as far as the press conferences went.

The media did a poor job of scrutinizing the police radio traffic from Oct. 1, the night of the massacre, or if they did they didn’t raise questions about how the radio traffic contradicted statements made by the LVMPD and MGM Resorts International.

The media focused entirely only on the shooting at the concert venue and the shooter.

There was much more going on that night. Las Vegas was being attacked, at least that’s the what the police initially believed. For hours the police were responding to active shooter incidents all over the Las Vegas strip. That is a story in and of itself. Who was calling all those calls in and why? What’s the status of that investigation or is there one?

Could that have been done to see how the police would respond to active shooters at multiple properties?

Broadcasting every tactical move the police were making that night unencrypted, for all the world to hear was a major mistake. It could have gotten police officers and civilians killed had it been a genuine terrorist attack in Las Vegas. To add insult to injury those recordings are available on the internet for any nut case or terrorist to analyze and study.

Three weeks later we have heard nothing of why a SWAT officer discharged his weapon inside the gunman’s room when we were told that Paddock was already dead when they entered. The Baltimore Post-Examiner was the first to break that story.

Was it an accidental discharge and if so who was injured?

The SWAT officer told the dispatcher after they cleared the room that a SWAT officer discharged his weapon, and there were no other injuries. He also said that they had one suspect down at this point and that was the room they were firing from.  Little things like that bother me, maybe nothing there, but I want answers.

Early on, the police told the media that Paddock was inside the room alone during his stay. There is no video surveillance in the hallway at Mandalay Bay, no video surveillance in the stairwells at Mandalay Bay. The only camera we are told is at the elevator core.

Las Vegas Strip (Public Domain)

When I was still working in the industry I knew of only five properties that had video surveillance in the halls of the guest rooming areas, MGM Grand, Tropicana, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood and the Stratosphere.

Anyone at any time could have come up or down from the stairwells and entered his room without ever being seen.

The lock interrogation on the door lock would only indicate that a key card was placed into the lock. It cannot tell you who put the key card in the door.

Did forensic analysis of the interior of the room lead the police to believe he was inside alone for his entire stay? And how could that have been completed so fast?

Fingerprints lifted from the room, DNA samples obtained from glasses, dishes, cigarettes, toilet, towels, etc. would be analyzed. But that is also a problem to because there would be fingerprints, and DNA left from prior occupants of the room and the hotel staff.

If Paddock is indeed the only suspect, then there will no criminal case, you can’t prosecute a dead body. The LVMPD should start releasing whatever evidence they have to corroborate the timeline to include all the 911 Communications Center telephone calls and dispatch recordings. We wouldn’t want anything getting deleted or altered.

Release Campos’ written voluntary statement to the police and his recorded interview with police investigators. That would be a good start.

Why did the LVMPD request additional armored vehicles from a private company the night of the shooting?

The Baltimore Post-Examiner was the first to break that story too. Does not the LVMPD have adequate armored vehicles to protect their police officers and the public and if not, why? Is it to protect the image of the city, so it doesn’t appear the police are militarized, after all that wouldn’t be politically correct?

I guess the hell with officer safety. Again, adding insult to injury they broadcasted over the police radio that night for all the world to hear that the LVMPD is short on armored vehicles.

Why is it that not all LVMPD police officers have AR-15 platform type rifles in their vehicles? Some do if they are assigned to special units. Others don’t, and I am told that they must purchase those rifles out of their own pocket. What’s going on here Lombardo? Are you more concerned with running a politically correct police department or one that should have available all the equipment needed?

Purchase additional armored vehicles and store them at each area command in the county so they would be available for a rapid response, to hell with being politically correct.

Initiate Hercules teams as they did in New York City and have them patrolling the strip every day.

If the police need armored vehicles, give it to them. If police officers need rifles and other gear, give it to them.   A rich tourist city like Las Vegas and if the police officers don’t have the equipment they need to keep themselves and the public safe then that is a freaking disgrace.

Why the police waited for over an hour to enter Paddock’s room when they weren’t even sure he was still inside the room, evident by the radio traffic that night, is another question?

Let’s wait for SWAT my ass. Paddock could have been out ready to do more carnage. Nobody knew for sure until they went into the room.

Plenty of things bother me with this case.   Why Paddock brought 23 rifles into the room seems like overkill for a one-man operation.

Why he stopped shooting after only ten minutes and then allegedly shot himself in the head, when he had enough ammunition and armament to hold off the police for hours and or keep firing bothers me.

The leaked crime scene photographs also raise some questions. I want to see the coroner’s report, estimated time of death, gunshot wound, etc. Also, the blood splatter patterns near the body.

Paddock was registered under his own name. Lombardo also changed Paddock’s check-in date more than a week after the shooting. First, Lombardo told us that Paddock checked in on the 28th then revised that to the 25th of September. His girlfriend was added to the registration. Why, if she wasn’t there?

Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo (Screenshot Fox News)

Then the sheriff had the nerve to say that wasn’t breaking news.

I have some breaking news of my own for the sheriff.

Your department is investigating the worst mass shooting in United States history.

If you can foul up something so simple as when someone checked into a hotel room in Las Vegas why should we believe anything.

Here’s another thing that bugged me that night.

I knew well before midnight that Paddock was the suspect who had slaughtered all those people less than two hours before.

Not because I was involved with Paddock, but because the police told me. They even told me where he lived. Yes, they did. They didn’t only just tell me, they broadcasted it for anyone who was listening.

“Control, copy some information. Potential name, related with the suspect.” “Go ahead.” “There was a player’s card that was out on the countertop next to the wallet of the suspect who is 419 [dead]. Break. It is an M Life platinum players card with the name of Marilou Danley. Mary-adam-robert-ida-lincoln-ocean-union. Last name is Danley, david-adam-nora-lincoln-easy-yellow.” “Copy.”

“That radio traffic, what was that last radio traffic?” “It looks like that name I gave you shares an address with the suspect. We can give you that address if you need to send units there.” “OK, go ahead when you’re ready.” “That’s 1372 Babbling Brook Court, and that’s in Mesquite, Nevada. Babbling Brook Court. Send resident officers there.” “Copy, 1372 Babbling Brook Court in Mesquite. Units be advised.” “It’s his driver’s license address as well.”

The police didn’t know that night if the shooter was acting alone, if this was a terrorist attack and there were others involved, specifically since they were responding to calls for active shooters at other Strip properties.

That information should never have come over the radio.

I hope they were at Paddock’s home before this went out over the air. They should have had the guest’s information from hotel registration way before they entered the room and hopefully the house in Mesquite was covered way before the room entry.

Within five minutes of that radio traffic I had Paddock’s name. I went to the Clark County Assessor website, typed in that address, and I had his name, the date he purchased the house and the purchase price.

At least since 9/11, casino owners knew that Las Vegas was a target for a terrorist attack.   We have had threats made against the city. Police and security personnel have known that.

Security directors at all strip properties are members of the Las Vegas Security Chief’s Association, which has monthly meetings where topics concerning terrorism have been discussed.

Security officers from many properties have attended training seminars conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other agencies in active shooter response, suicide bomber response, improvised explosives devices, etc.

Guns, explosives and vehicles and any combination of those are used in terror attacks. You can’t have an active shooter incident without a firearm.

Considering all this, how was it that Paddock had a small arsenal, or as one Metro officer said on 60 Minutes, “it looked like a gun shop in there,” inside room 135 on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay.

People died, and people were wounded because there were no security measures in place that could have prevented Paddock from ever reaching a hotel rooming area with luggage that contained 23 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and accessories.

That fact cannot be denied.

In 2013, Adam Walker, an intelligence analyst with the Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center was quoted as saying that “…. it’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when’ something happens on Las Vegas Boulevard.”

On October 1, 2017 something did happen on Las Vegas Boulevard. We are just being kept from the entire truth.

 

 

 


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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