ABC News’ Nightline documentary ‘A Killer on Floor 32’ about the Las Vegas Massacre falls short - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

ABC News’ Nightline documentary ‘A Killer on Floor 32’ about the Las Vegas Massacre falls short

Screenshot from ABC News Nightline of Jesus Campos.

LAS VEGAS — On Tuesday night, ABC News’ Nightline aired its anatomy of the October 1 Las Vegas Massacre, ‘A Killer on Floor 32.’ An article accompanying the video was released online on Tuesday afternoon.

ABC News correspondent, Ju Ju Chang described the 30-minute documentary as, “We can now present one of the most comprehensive views of a mass shooting ever.”

The documentary fell short on that.

I thought they would ask the hard questions and examine the failures of some on the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and at the Mandalay Bay, that may have prevented further loss of life during the October 1 Las Vegas Massacre.

ABC failed in that regard and many of the statements contained in their online article and what was described by Chang, were factually incorrect.

Highlighting the victims of the Las Vegas Massacre and the police officers who saved the life of one of the victims, are always stories that need to be told.

That being said, the story fell short on many other issues and appears to be another public relations stunt by MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Mandalay Bay Hotel where gunman Stephen Paddock fired down from his 32nd floor suite into the Route 91 Music festival, killing 58 people and wounding more than four-hundred. Hundreds of others suffered injuries both physical and emotional.

So, what was wrong in both the online story and the aired story?

In the online article, ABC wrote that Mandalay Bay Security Officer Jesus Campos was poised to wrap up his shift when he received a call to check out a room alarm on the 32nd floor.

Campos was quoted as saying, “This was the last call of my night.” “I was home free after this.”

ABC said that Campos was doing his rounds when he received the call to investigate the alarm one floor above him. He decided to take the stairwell to the 32nd floor. There he discovered something unusual: A metal L-bracket had been screwed to the door and doorjamb preventing him from opening it. ABC reported that Campos said he walked up to the 33rd floor and took the elevator back down.

That is not true. Campos did not know that the L-bracket was on the door until he approached the door from the 32nd floor hallway and went into the fire exit foyer.

Unless Campos had x-ray vision how could he have possibly known what was preventing the door from opening while he was in the 32nd floor stairwell trying to make entry onto the 32nd floor?

Get the facts straight ABC. You might have asked about Campos’ non-disclosure agreement with MGMRI and what he got in exchange for his silence on certain matters. Read that story.

ABC, did you ask Campos why he didn’t call into security dispatch immediately when he found that he couldn’t get the fire exit door opened while he was in the 32nd floor stairwell?

MGM Surveillance video

Apparently not, or it was edited out to protect MGMRI during civil litigation.

That was a major health and safety violation in the hotel industry and had Campos called that in, it should have resulted in a response from other security personnel as well as engineering. Campos was negligent in not calling that in immediately.

Could it be that Campos was more concerned with getting off shift and going home, than being focused on a fire exit door that he could not open?

What ABC should have asked him was, if it is normal to find a fire exit door that has no locking mechanism on it, secured to prevent entry. If so, then why didn’t you call that into security dispatch?

That’s what I would have asked him.

When Campos was interviewed by the LVMPD detective after the Massacre he even admitted that something was out of the ordinary when he told the detective during his recorded interview, “As I was approaching the stairwell from the 31st floor to the 32nd the – the door—the door that leads to the stairwell to the hallway was locked or secured – locked. And I thought it was out of the ordinary because those doors are always open.”

He wasn’t challenged at the time by the detective on that statement and it appears ABC hadn’t challenged him either. Yes, it was out of the ordinary big time.

ABC wrote that after Campos couldn’t get into the 32nd floor from the stairwell, he said that he walked up to the 33rd floor and then took the elevator back down.

When Campos was interviewed by the police in October of 2017 he said, “So, I dropped down to the 31st floor.

More discrepancies in what Campos told ABC

ABC then wrote that Campos said, “I didn’t know what was going on just simply because that’s not normal,” he said of finding the L-bracket. “I had to call our security dispatch.”

So that was not normal to Campos, but the fire door that he couldn’t open wasn’t?

ABC stated that Campos said that his call was transferred to maintenance engineering by security dispatch.

He may have said that to ABC, over a year after the Massacre, however that is not what he told the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detective during his recorded police interview days after the Massacre. “As I – as I observed a metal bracket that was keeping the door shut, I called our security dispatch. They stated they weren’t aware of the situation either and to contact engineering. I contacted engineering.”

That statement is extremely important because it shows the lack of concern by Mandalay Bay Hotel security dispatch as to a fire exit door that was bracketed shut. That is not a normal event.

Why didn’t ABC address this with Campos?

ABC writes that when Campos entered the 32nd floor hallway, Campos, who was unarmed, heard what sounded like a drill coming from behind the doors at the far end of the hall inside suite 32-135. As he stepped in the direction of the strange noise, gunfire erupted. Someone barricaded in the high-roller suite somehow saw him and opened fire through the door.

That’s not the way it happened.

Campos told the police during his interview that, “At that moment in time I heard noises which I assumed were drills or like, very loud drill. So, I started walking away from the room. As I got in front of 32-129 that’s when I heard gunfire. As I got hit I – I was pinned in front of 32-121 and 32-123. I noticed that I was bleeding.”

There hasn’t been any evidence to date from the LVMPD or anyone else that Stephen Paddock’s room doors were barricaded. So why is ABC saying that someone was barricaded in the suite.

Why didn’t ABC ask Campos if he heard suspicious noises from the room, why didn’t he investigate those noises and call it in and why did he just walk away?

Again, was it because he was more concerned with his shift ending and didn’t want to bother with it.

Campos’ failure to not investigate those suspicious sounds, and call into security dispatch, was again, negligence on his part. No competent security officer would have just walked away from that room without investigating suspicious noises.

The LVMPD detective who interviewed Campos after the shooting, he also did not challenge Campos on that. It appears ABC followed his lead.

Chang remarked in the documentary that as Campos walked down the hall he passed the room service cart in front of Room 32-134.

Why didn’t Chang ask Campos why he told the police that he didn’t see a room service cart in the hallway.

She also should have asked Campos why he didn’t mention Engineer Steven Schuck as being in the hallway with him on the 32nd floor when he was interviewed by the police and why he never mentioned anything to the police about the woman who he said came out of the room, as he stated on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

This was another orchestrated interview set up by MGMRI who has been keeping Campos away from any journalists who actually know how to conduct an interview.

Echoes of gunfire

During the documentary, Chang said, “The echoes of gunfire through the Strip leads to reports of shooters in multiple hotels.”

Not true.

How can you have echoes of Paddock’s gunfire when he stopped firing at 10:16 p.m. according to the LVMPD’s final criminal investigative report.

The reports of gunfire at other Strip properties occurred after Stephen Paddock stopped firing, those reports starting at approximately at 11:00 p.m. and continuing thereafter.

According to the LVMPD Communications Center event log at 10:53 p.m. on October 1, 2017 the command post was trying to verify another possible incident at the Stratosphere. That hotel is two miles north of the Mandalay Bay on the Strip.

The LVMPD log indicates that at 11:01 p.m. a caller at the MGM states there are at least two shooters. At 11:06 p.m. the first call of an active shooter at another property, The New York Hotel comes in.

ABC highlights in their documentary the shots fired at the Tropicana Hotel.

Problem is the active shooter call at the Tropicana Hotel came in at 11:14 p.m. “Advising active shooter in Tropicana.”

Those must have been some strong echoes to keep on reverberating almost an hour after Paddock stopped firing, if ABC News is to be believed.

This documentary appears to have been done to fit a certain narrative that both MGMRI and the LVMPD wanted.

Here comes the biggest disgrace of all.

The worst mass shooting in modern American history and ABC News failed to address the biggest catastrophic failure to an active shooter incident by police and armed security who were just feet away from the shooter and did nothing to stop and distract him.

ABC showed a small clip of LVMPD Officer Cordell Hendrex moving through the casino floor with armed Mandalay Bay security. But ABC stops there and fails to mention that LVMPD Officers Hendrex, Varsin and three armed Mandalay Bay security supervisors retreated on the 31st floor and failed to take any action to reach the 32nd floor. Instead, they remained safely on the 31st floor listening to the police radio as people were being slaughtered.

ABC shows a quick clip of one of the Mandalay Bay security supervisors on the 31st floor holding his handgun, but ABC failed to ask the big question; Why did an armed contingent of five, stand by and do nothing.

ABC did you know that an armed Mandalay Bay security operations manager and two armed security bike patrol officers were on the 32nd floor during the time Paddock’s gunfire was ongoing and they too failed to act?

Great job ABC News.

Like you said in your documentary, “Much of that night has remained a mystery,” and thanks to your great investigative journalism the mystery continues.

And the mainstream media wonders why the American people have lost trust in them.

Every minute that Campos and Schuck were under fire, concert-goers had a chance to flee until Paddock opened fire again, ABC said. That’s true. Paddock fired a total of about 40 rounds through the door, then continued firing into the crowd.

There are much bigger questions that ABC failed to address.

Would events have changed that night had Campos called in immediately when he found that fire door on the 32nd floor didn’t open, and other personnel responded?

What if Campos had investigated the suspicious drilling noises in Paddock’s suite, instead of just walking away?

What if coward cop Hendrex and his armed contingent had taken some kind of action, instead of retreating?

What about the three armed Mandalay Bay security personnel who also took no action as Paddock’s gunfire continued?

Did security negligence, police cowardice and failures to act cause more death and injuries that night?

Why didn’t ABC News address any of these issues?

“One floor below, a SWAT Team makes there way to that stairwell,” Chang said.

Wrong again, it was one SWAT Officer, Levi Hancock, who was in that stairwell, and with his ad-hoc team of patrol officers, breached the suite at 11:20 p.m.

Why didn’t Chang ask LVMPD Deputy Chief Andrew Walsh about Hendrex’s failure to act and why the LVMPD full SWAT Team couldn’t make it to Paddock’s suite over one hour after the shooting stopped?

It might be a good idea for the next mainstream news outlet that decides to do a story on the Las Vegas Massacre to do a little research before conducting interviews.

Mandalay Bay President Chuck Bowling speaks, says nothing of any relevance

Chang asked Bowling, “A lot of people looking at the arsenal and said how could one man bring that much of an arsenal into a hotel?”

Bowling’s lame response. “My first response to that is there are thousands of people walking through the front door, our back door, from the parking garage, with luggage. We great and welcome and our first priority is to say welcome, we’re glad you’re here. That’s our first responsibility. Once I saw the arsenal that was up there, uh, it’s sickening.”

It’s worse than sickening Bowling.

Remember 58 people are dead because you and executives just like you are more interested in the bottom line and failed to implement proper security procedures after being warned for years that a terrorist act or an active shooter incident could occur on your property.

Why didn’t Chang ask Bowling about the incident in 2014 when a convicted felon brought his small arsenal of weapons into one of the Mandalay Bay high-rise hotel towers, which was discovered when a guest room attendant went into his room and saw one of the weapons pointed towards the Las Vegas Strip.

Was Chang aware that an MGMRI corporate security executive was fully aware that the threat of a sniper attack from an elevated position in hotel high-rise tower posed a threat, prior to the October 1 Las Vegas Massacre?

What was Bowling’s response when asked about suing the victims?

“Well the main thing you want us to know, this is a small city and it’s a big family, the community depends on Mandalay Bay. We’re a community serving a community and so that is our focus. We can mourn what’s going on, but we want to work together to look to the future, so there’s hope.”

Sounds very similar to a remark made by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, the head of the LVMPD who said that we have to forget about this and move on.

ABC News, you get a failing grade for investigating journalism on this one.

MGM Surveillance video of Stephen Paddock.

MGM Resorts International, once again, snubs the attorneys for the Route 91 victims

MGMRI provided ABC with previously unreleased Mandalay Bay Hotel surveillance video of Jesus Campos and Engineer Steven Schuck. That’s the video that the attorneys for the victims have been asking for since the October 1 Massacre and never received.

MGM provided an exclusive computer rendering of the 32nd floor to ABC, but not to the victim’s attorneys.

ABC said they were given unprecedented access to the inside of the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay.

Texas attorney Craig Eiland, who represents victims of the Las Vegas Massacre told the Baltimore Post-Examiner on Tuesday that counsel working for MGMRI, this past weekend, had advised an attorney representing the victims that a show would be airing on ABC’s Nightline and on Hulu. Eiland said that the MGMRI counsel provided no details other than there may be some employees interviewed.

In closing, some words of wisdom from Mandalay Bay Security Officer, Jesus Campos, who told Chang during the interview, “I did it to the best of my ability and then some.”

Right.

The Baltimore Post-Examiner reached out to MGMRI and Campos and they have not returned our calls and emails for comment. We have some hard questions to ask instead of the softballs tossed by ABC News.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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

3 Comments

  1. 648MelrosePlace says:

    It is absurd that a 30 minute program would proport to know what happened. I have a nearly two hour interview about meeting Paddock and his expression of desire to do something like this alone. Granted, that’s a bit excessive, but the point is there is a LOT to cover over many angles! From the beginning, I found it extremely difficult to tell my story especially to the Las Vegas MPD. In fact, only after they published their first report did I have ANY number to call at all other than the FBI who are largely disinterested even though it’s relatively simple to know if I’m telling the truth. All they have to do is verify if Paddock was on an Alaskan cruise in September of 2016 with Marilou Danley (long story but it fits in with my experience with Paddock and would serve as very good proof two of us with the same story are telling the truth). The Police assured me they were looking for the truth when I finally talked to them but that sure doesn’t seem to be the case. Ramsey Dension’s followup to his documentary, What Happened In Vegas, entitled Vegas Wrong, is scheduled to be released next month. I interviewed twice on video extensively with him so hopefully my story is in the final cut.

    My You Tube Interview with Weg Oag, Mike Turber and Eric Paddock:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zR1rBjtwHI

    Note that Eric Paddock tries to dispute I ever met Stephen Paddock in two ways – first, that Stephen Paddock didn’t play table games-I met him playing Blackjack. I found an article from one of the Las Vegas newspapers online in which it is stated Paddock did indeed play Blackjack and bet over a thousand dollars a hand at times. (when I met him at Excalibur, he was betting $175 a hand, and controlling Marilou who was betting red chips). He also claims Paddock didn’t have a beard and moustache as I remember him. This, too, is false. Many photos of Paddock with a beard and moustache can be found online.

    In fact, I answered some 40 posts underneath that video so far, all of those I deemed reasonable. There are some complete nutcases out there who insist that helicopters and a grand conspiracy are part of this whole thing. They are not, this is nothing more than revenge on the casino by a well equipped angry degenerate gambler.

    It is very similar to the 1980 Harvey’s Lake Tahoe bombing, both of these acts were motivated by gambling losses. The difference is the motive. In Lake Tahoe, it was blackmail. On October 1, the motive Stephen Paddock had in mind and executed was revenge.

    Reply
  2. Jackie says:

    As a proud Las Vegas resident with a young friend in spine rehab from that night I am ENRAGED at the disgusting words of Mandalay President Chuck Bowling. He’s THREATENING Las Vegas workers! “Small city /big family” I take to mean – we know you have family working at an MGM resort. We own half the strip. “A community that depends on Mandalay” – Basically if WE have to pay YOU will lose your job. Arrogant incompetent jerk! If MGM loses
    Mandalay to another casino operater it might be BETTER for the community.

    Reply
    • Roger Allen Kenis says:

      Theyve been able to hold the city and LVMPD hostage in a sense. As the largest state employer, their power and influence is disgusting. This too big to fail shit has to stop. They did wrong, they are no different than any other company and should be held accountable. In a way RICO should be looked at with their actions.

      Reply

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