LAS VEGAS: The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s investigation of the worst mass shooting incident in United States history that occurred on Oct. 1 and resulted in the death of 58 people and the injuring more than 500, has had more twist and turns since Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo first held his initial press conference.
The mass shooting and the death of the gunman, Stephen Paddock, who reportedly committed suicide, would normally be investigated by detectives from the LVMPD’s homicide division, however the Baltimore Post-Examiner was told by a retired police official that the investigation was pulled from homicide detectives and given to the department’s Force Investigation Team.
The Force Investigation Team (FIT) falls under the direction of the department’s Internal Oversight and Constitutional Policing Bureau that is commanded by Captain Kelly M. McMahill, who is the wife of Clark County Undersheriff Kevin C. McMahill.
Capt. McMahill is a staple on local television as the spokesperson for officer involved shootings in Las Vegas.
McMahill is listed as a speaker at the November 2017 Conference of the Society for Integrity in Force Investigation and Reporting. She is scheduled for a talk on Las Vegas Metro Police Officer Involved Shooting Investigations.
The FIT investigates all officer involved shootings leading to injuries or death.
When the Baltimore Post-Examiner contacted the LVMPD Homicide Division on Tuesday and inquired if they were handling the Mandalay Bay shooting investigation, we were told that it was being investigated by the Force Investigation Team.
A press information officer was not available for comment when contacted by the Baltimore Post-Examiner.
The FIT conducts a criminal investigation to determine whether the use of use deadly force was legally justified under criminal law., according the departments use of force policy. FIT also directs the investigation against a subject who either committed crimes which led to the use of deadly force or who has committed crimes against an officer.
Why the investigation is not being handled by the seasoned homicide detectives of the LVMPD seems peculiar when juxtaposed with the fact that the police said that Paddock was already dead, apparently by his own hand, when they entered his room at the Mandalay Bay.
Why a shooting investigation team that investigates if police officers were justified in using deadly force, would be investigating the mass Undershooting is unknown.
SWAT officer fired his weapon inside Paddock’s room
The Baltimore Post-Examiner was the first to break the story and produce a police audio recording that a SWAT officer fired his weapon inside Paddock’s room.
According to the police radio traffic that night after the rooms were breached a SWAT officer told the dispatcher that one SWAT officer did fire and that there were no other injuries and one suspect was down at this point.
During the Oct. 3 press briefing, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo was asked by a reporter, “Did police or security guards fire any shots at any time during the encounter.” Lombardo replied, “Um, during when he was discharging his weapon?” Reporter, “Yes.” Lombardo, “We are not aware of that, no security guard or police, other than the encounter at the room?”
The reporter did not follow up that answer. What encounter at the room? There was no encounter, Paddock was dead. So why did an officer fire his weapon?
Was it a case of an accidental discharge and if so why has there been no press release on that, almost three and half weeks since the massacre?. What’s the big secret? Who was injured, as the SWAT officer told the dispatcher that there were no other injuries?
When four of the LVMPD officers who had entered Paddock’s room after the door was breached, Detectives Matthew Donaldson, Casey Clarkson, and K-9 officers Joshua Bitsko and Dave Newton appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes, the Sunday following the massacre, neither one of them mentioned anything about any officer firing a weapon. SWAT officer Levi Hancock who also entered the room did not appear on the show.
There are still many unanswered questions.
Were the officers who entered the room on Oct, 1, including SWAT wearing body worn cameras and if so, will the recordings be released?
Were there any video transmission devices transmitting live feed images to a command post?
What officer fired his weapon and why?
When an officer discharges his weapon for any reason in the line of duty a shooting review board conducts an inquiry. Was that done and what are the results?
Paddock’s room door was not breached for over an hour. The police weren’t even sure he was still inside the room.
The LVMPD has robots that have been used in prior incidents involving barricaded suspects, which the Sheriff said this incident turned into because Paddock had stopped firing on the crowd.
If the police believed the room may have been booby-trapped why wasn’t a robot used.
The police saw the cameras on the room service cart, yet SWAT officer, Levi Hancock still approached the gunman’s door to fasten the explosive for the breach.
The public has the right to know what happened that night. Transparency, not secrecy is needed in this investigation.
Doug authored over 135 articles on the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre, more than any other single journalist in the country. He investigates stories on corruption, law enforcement and crime. Doug is a US Army Military Police Veteran, former police officer, deputy sheriff and criminal investigator. Doug spent 20 years in the hotel/casino industry as an investigator and then as Director of Security and Surveillance. He also spent a short time with the US Dept. of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration. In 1986 Doug was awarded Criminal Investigator of the Year by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. In 1992 and 1993 Doug testified in court that a sheriff’s office official and the county prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence during the 1988 trial of a man accused of the attempted murder of his wife. Doug’s testimony led to a judge’s decision to order the release of the man from prison in 1992 and awarded him a new trial, in which he was later acquitted. As a result of Doug breaking the police “blue wall of silence,” he was fired by the county sheriff. His story was featured on Inside Edition, Current Affair and CBS News’ “Street Stories with Ed Bradley”. In 1992 after losing his job, at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Doug infiltrated a group of men who were plotting the kidnapping of a Dupont fortune heir and his wife. Doug has been a guest on national television and radio programs speaking on the stories he now writes as an investigative journalist.