Why trust anything Sheriff Lombardo or MGM Resorts International say - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Why trust anything Sheriff Lombardo or MGM Resorts International say

We have now reached the one-month mark since the worst mass shooting in United States history.

The massacre that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada on Oct. 1 of this year left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured when gunman Stephen Paddock we are told, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo who runs the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) had the nerve to tell the public, “I don’t want anybody to think that they are unsafe by staying in one of our hotels.”

That was very nice of Lombardo to plug the hotels, his corporate supporters who helped put him in office.

Yes, we wouldn’t want tourists to think that they are not safe in a Las Vegas hotel.

After all anybody can roll in a small arsenal of weapons and ammunition into a Vegas hotel room and commit mass murder, so yes, Vegas hotels are extremely safe as Lombardo stated.

What the public was told at several press briefings that were held by Lombardo and Undersheriff Kevin McMahill was nothing short of convoluted timelines, hotel check-in dates of the gunman and in the words of Lombardo, “unverified” information.

Lombardo assumed that the public in their need for information about the massacre wanted to be fed false and misleading nonsense apparently obtained from an inept police investigation that couldn’t even get simple facts nailed down from the start.

Sheriff Lombardo contradicts his own timeline of the shooting

McMahill told us that unarmed Mandalay Bay Security Officer, Jesus Campos was a hero. Then later they would back off that when Sheriff Lombardo changed the timeline.

First Lombardo said that Campos had interrupted killer Stephen Paddock during his 10-minute shooting spree because Paddock saw Campos coming down the hallway on cameras Paddock had set up and fired through the door hitting Campos.

That account was not accurate either, as Campos on the Ellen DeGeneres Show said while be interviewed by the comedian, that he had approached Paddock’s door as he went to the stairwell to check to see why the fire door wouldn’t open.

He wasn’t shot at, at that point and nobody with any common sense would be walking down a hall if they heard gunshots emanating from the room.

Campos said when he exited the outer door from the stairwell the door slammed, and he believed that may have alerted Paddock who then opened fire as he was walking down the hall away from Paddock’s room.

That raises more questions.

Paddock went through the trouble of placing cameras on the inside of his room door on the peephole and two more on the room service cart, apparently to monitor if anyone was approaching his door.

He didn’t see Campos walking down the hallway approaching his door as Campos went to check on the stairwell fire door that was adjacent to the room. Had he opened fire at that point Campos would have been facing the door and most likely might have never survived a barrage of gunfire that close.

Later, Lombardo said Campos was shot a full six minutes before paddock opened fire and then for a third time changed the first two accounts and said that Campos was shot around the same time Paddock opened fire on the music festival.

What happened with the LVMPD investigation

As a former criminal investigator my first question would be, who interviewed Campos right after the shooting and why wasn’t all this known immediately after he was questioned by the LVMPD.

Obviously, somebody at the LVMPD screwed up as the FBI had to re-interview Campos because the timeline didn’t fit.

Who interviewed Campos at the LVMPD, was it a homicide investigator as it should have been or a member of the Force Investigation Team (FIT) that normally investigates officer involved shootings. FIT answers to the bureau commander who is Captain Kelly McMahill, wife of McMahill.

Captain McMahill has marginal investigative experience according to former Metro cops who spoke to the Baltimore Post-Examiner. Of course, having your wife in control of a major investigation is a plus should damage control be needed.

The LVMPD homicide division told the Baltimore Post-Examiner that the investigation was being handled by the Force Investigation Team and not homicide. Why is that? Could that have anything to do with the fact that an officer fired a weapon inside Paddock’s room, a mystery no one is still talking about.

Apparently, transparency means nothing to Lombardo.

Keep in mind that once a cop gets elected sheriff he is no longer a cop, but a politician. Politicians have their own agenda and when you receive over $1 million in campaign contributions that helped you get elected, who knows what could happen.

The LVMPD couldn’t protect the integrity of their own criminal investigation of the worst mass shooting in American history.

Crime scene photographs of Paddock’s body and the room were leaked to the press. Lombardo said he was disturbed by that and he should be. Who leaked the crime scene photographs and what is the status of that investigation. So far, we have not been told and most likely never will.

As the days went by we saw the toll it was taking on Sheriff Lombardo. He appeared shaken at times, even uneasy with his own remarks to the press and then not taking any questions at all.

Lombardo first told the media that, “the guard radioed Mandalay Bay Security, who then reported the shooting to police.” Even that remark didn’t hold water as Lombardo released nothing to support that assertion. To make matters worse MGM Resorts International (MGMRI), the owners of the Mandalay Bay released a statement of their own which contradicted Lombardo’s timeline and how the police were notified.

MGM Resorts International statement

Although we prefer not to comment on the details of this investigation, we are issuing this statement to correct some of the misinformation that has been reported. The 9:59 p.m. PDT time was derived from a Mandalay Bay report manually created after the fact without the benefit of information we now have. We are now confident that the time stated in this report is not accurate. We know that shots were being fired at the festival lot at the same time as, or within 40 seconds after, the time Jesus Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio. Metro officers were together with armed Mandalay Bay security officers in the building when Campos first reported that shots were fired over the radio. These Metro officers and armed Mandalay Bay security officers immediately responded to the 32nd floor. We will continue to work with law enforcement as we have from the first moments of this tragedy as they work toward developing an accurate timeline.

If we are to believe that statement, which by the way was not accompanied by any proof of accuracy or truthfulness, it leads to more disturbing questions.

Who falsified the Mandalay Bay security log or as MGMRI said, “was derived from a Mandalay Bay report manually created after the fact without the benefit of information we now have.”

If Metro officers were in fact inside the Mandalay Bay before the shooting started talking to security officers about another matter, and they heard Campos over the radio telling Security dispatch that shots were being fired on the 32nd floor, how was it that the LVMPD dispatcher did not know immediately where the shots were coming from.

Did the Metro officers get on their radio and inform their dispatcher that they were enroute to the 32nd floor for a report of shots fired? That would just be common sense, let alone proper police procedure. If that was the case, then what time did Campos call that in over the radio, and again why didn’t the police dispatcher know.

What Metro units were they? When did they respond and where were they inside Mandalay Bay when they were talking to the Mandalay Bay security officers and then responded to the 32nd floor?

Does hotel video surveillance show them going up into the tower with security officers and at which time.

Why wasn’t any of this given to the media when MGMRI issued the statement.

Police radio traffic from the night of October 1 tells a different story

The police didn’t know where exactly the shooter was firing from in the Mandalay Bay, until over 18 minutes from the time the first police officer at the concert called in shots fired. Then we hear, “182SE we have a security officer shot in the leg on the 32nd floor. He’s standing by the elevator.” He shot down the hallway and hit a security officer. It’s room 135 on the 32nd floor.”

Lombardo told the media, how hard it was to pinpoint Paddock’s room from the outside. Why was it hard, when according to MGMRI, Metro officers knew immediately where the shots were coming from when Campos called in over the radio?

On Friday, ABC News stated it had exclusively obtained an audio clip from MGM Resorts International of Campos calling in the shots fired over the radio. “Hey, there are shots fired,” and then giving the floor and room number. According to ABC news MGMRI did not provide the precise time the call was made.

This is very interesting. If the audio clip was made from recorded Mandalay Bay Security Dispatch radio traffic, that would be time coded, if indeed they do record their security communications. That audio clip could have been made at any time, there is nothing to say that it is genuine.

Is MGMRI trying to shift blame to the LVMPD by releasing a recording allegedly of Campos not only calling in shots fired but the exact room number.

From my experience giving out piece-meal information here and there raises red flags.

I wouldn’t trust anything anybody says at this point unless they show proof to back up what they say and then only when everything is independently verified.

Protecting themselves from civil litigation is primary at this point. Both the LVMPD and MGM Resorts International have done a horrible public relations job to date. It’s a disgrace and I am sure that the relatives of the deceased and the survivors of the attack feel the same way.

Could LVMPD 911 Communications Center have erred

On the night of the massacre, the LVMPD Communications Center was inundated with telephone calls, and the dispatchers were handling multiple calls from officers both inside the Mandalay Bay and calls outside at the concert venue. The tactical movements of officers inside the hotel were broadcasted on the same channel as the calls from the concert venue.

After the ambush murders of LVMPD Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo on June 8, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice conducted an after-action assessment of the ambush.

The DOJ noted in the report that the LVMPD communications center which includes dispatch and the 911 call center was burdened with repeated requests for updated information about the incident from LVMPD personnel. The report stated that because of procedural issues in the LVMPD dispatch center, not all information was communicated accurately and in a timely manner. Also, the ambush incident was initially miscoded by a call taker in the dispatch center. Interior tactical response radio communications were conducted on the same channel as exterior perimeter radio communications, leading to excessive traffic on the radio and confusion when the channels were separated. Issues with garbled transmissions and inability to transmit over radios during the response hampered information sharing, the report concluded.

The FBI

I cannot give too much criticism to the FBI at this point, predominantly because they don’t comment on the investigation, something Sheriff Joe Lombardo should have learned from.

The one thing that bothered me was when they said right after the shooting they found no connection with Paddock to any groups. The FBI is good however they are not that good to make a statement like that so fast.

The Bureau has had their share of mistakes in recent years concerning terrorism.

Before the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing, the FBI interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev, then let him go. When Russia gave a second warning, the FBI decided not to investigate Tsarnaev again. We all saw the result in Boston.

The FBI was in possession of emails sent by Nidal Hasan indicating that he wanted to kill soldiers to protect the Taliban, but didn’t for some reason intervene. 31 people died at Fort Hood, Texas when Nidal conducted his terrorist attack.

The father of Ahmad Khan Rahami, the terrorist who detonated a backpack bomb in New York City in 2016, had alerted the FBI that his son became radicalized. The FBI after an interview with Rahami cleared him.

Omar Mateen, the terrorist who killed 49 people and wounded 53 others inside the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla., was interviewed by the FBI before the attack. He lied to FBI agents then the Bureau closed the case.

This one bothers me, specifically because I am a former undercover officer and the circumstances. It involved the Garland, Texas “Draw Muhammad” event when two terrorists, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi sought to kill Americans attending the event. The FBI not only knew an attack was forthcoming, but there was an FBI undercover special agent traveling with both men. The U/C agent did not intervene during the attack.   What the hell was up with that. I worked many years when I was on the job in an undercover capacity. You cannot stand by and allow an incident to take place if it involves a citizen’s life being put in danger, you must break your cover. We never got the full story on this one.

Protect the company

With MGM Resorts International as with all hotel casino properties it’s all about protecting the brand from public embarrassment and getting ahead of any possible civil litigation.

All those cameras that you see in casinos in Las Vegas other than the ones that are mandated per gaming regulations, are there to protect the hotel from personal injury claims.

Most of the crimes that occur on hotel casino properties never make it into the media. Casinos go through great lengths to see that that doesn’t happen.

When corporations took over the casinos when organized crime was forced out, the only thing that really changed were the people running the casinos. It’s all about the bottom line. Money is money.

Pimps, drug dealers, degenerates and other scum of the earth are all treated like royalty on casino properties, if they throw down the money.

High-rollers get special treatment, sometimes to the detriment of casino employees.

After 20 years in the hotel casino industry I saw it all.

One casino executive told me years ago, at least the mob had some honor, the corporations in many ways are worse than the mob, he said. That’s not too far from the truth. There are honorable persons running casinos.

Las Vegas is full of executives who have very bad histories. Embezzlers, thieves, drug addicts, alcoholics, sexual harassers and other trash are in executive level and senior management positions in corporations all over Las Vegas and elsewhere.

How is that possible, you might ask.

Casino executives and senior managers who commit crimes against their employers are rarely prosecuted because the casinos don’t want the embarrassment of public scrutiny. It just wouldn’t look good if they have one of their executives arrested. It has occurred, but those cases are few and far between.

Most often what happens is they are given their walking papers and just move on to infect another property.

To the contrary, lower line level employees are prosecuted much more often. Once an employee has a serious criminal record they cannot get hired in the industry. There have been some that did fall through the cracks.

I saw so many good people get a bad deal over the years in the casino industry and most often from those persons who had no integrity or honor themselves, but were in a position of power.

Bad executives move from one casino to the next and although their past is known within industry circles, they still find employment at the executive or senior level. They have friends in high places who owe them a favor, or they may have something to hold over them. The old saying that birds of a feather stick together fits perfectly in Sin City.

Question those in authority and never rest until we get to the truth.

Those in power have the power because we gave that to them. They work for the people. We owe them nothing, they owe us the truth.

Never forget those who were slaughtered and wounded on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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
  • Doug, do you have any insight or information of MGM’s “Welcome To the Show” media campaign displaying and highlighting of the statue “The Rape of the Sabine Women” as being the trigger that has Stephen send his woman away and prepare? It began two weeks prior and fits with his timeline.

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