Las Vegas Massacre: Two years later and questions remain - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas Massacre: Two years later and questions remain

LAS VEGAS — October 1, 2017 the worst mass shooting in modern America history occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In the aftermath, 58 Route 91 Harvest Music Festival attendees would be dead, over 450 others wounded by gunfire after gunman Stephen Paddock fired down into the crowd from his 32nd floor suite at the MGM Resorts International (MGMRI) owned Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Today, October 1, 2019, marks the end of the two-year Statute of Limitations to file a civil complaint for injury resulting from the Massacre.

Stephen Paddock caught on video in the Mandalay Bay hotel hall. 

Survivors of the shooting and the families of those killed are to this day left with no answers as to why Stephen Paddock did what he did and how could MGMRI allow such a tragedy to occur on their property after years of being put on notice.

In the over 135 stories I wrote for the Baltimore Post-Examiner on the Las Vegas Massacre, why Paddock did what he did remains unanswered. All of the articles were backed up facts and documents – even disproving conspiracy theories, but the answer to why he fired on innocent people remains a mystery.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) could not find a motive for Paddock’s actions and that just doesn’t sit right with survivors and family members of those killed who I have spoken to.

As to why MGMRI allowed Paddock to bring in an arsenal of weapons and ammunition into the Mandalay Bay Hotel and drive his vehicle onto their property with explosive materials, well that answer is simple. Corporate greed, negligence, and ignorance all were factors in that.

Why the LVMPD failed to have measures in place prior to the Massacre that could have minimized the loss of life that night, you can blame that on failed police leadership and political correctness. It took a tragedy for Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo who runs the LVMPD to finally wake up and implement measures post-October 1, 2017 that he should have had in place prior to the mass shooting. For more read our July 19 article Lombardo’s After-Action Review confirms incompetence, negligence led to October 1 Las Vegas Massacre’.

MGMRI, the FBI, and the LVMPD were fully aware of the threat posed by a sniper attack from an elevated position in a hotel high-rise tower, years before the Massacre, as I have described in several articles. But even lessons learned from that training scenario was ignored in the pre-planning stages for the festival.

Nothing was also learned from the 2014 incident when a convicted felon brought an arsenal of weapons into one of the high-rise towers of the Mandalay Bay, only being discovered by a hotel maid who entered the room and saw a high-powered rifle pointed to a window overlooking the Las Vegas Strip.

Hendrex retreating on the 32nd floor

Florida citizens were outraged at Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, who came under scrutiny after his school resource deputy stood by and did nothing to save lives during the high school shooting. Israel was removed from his position.

LVMPD Field Training Officer Cordell Hendrex, who along with LVMPD Officer Elif Varsin and three armed Mandalay Bay Hotel assistant security supervisors, retreated on the 31st floor of the hotel for over four minutes on October 1, 2017, as gunman Stephen Paddock’s gunfire was killing and wounding the concert attendees. That armed contingent of five did nothing, made no attempt to get to the shooter, all the while they heard the carnage that was occurring over the police radio.

So, what is the difference between Israel and Lombardo – absolutely nothing, except in Las Vegas the media think Lombardo is a hero. The Vegas media coddled Lombardo time and again, all throughout his blatant lies to the public and not once called him out.

On June 6 the Baltimore Post-Examiner broke the story that Hendrex was no longer employed by the department. Lombardo was hiding that fact from the public until I found out.   On July 3 the Associated Press confirmed that Hendrex was fired on March 20.

Remember when George Knapp of KLAS-TV’s 8News Now I-Team sat across from Lombardo during his November 2, 2017 televised interview with him and Knapp did not challenge Lombardo when he made the statement, “In this case because of what the suspect did, officers made the decision to breach this doorway of the hotel room in case the guy was reloading, maybe he was reloading magazines, we didn’t want to give him the opportunity to keep firing.”

That was another Lombardo lie because the police waited one hour and five minutes after Paddock had already stopped firing to enter the room, so where was the urgency to get into the room. Why didn’t Knapp go after Lombardo on that? Maybe because there would be no more steak dinners with Lombardo. That’s Las Vegas investigative journalism at its finest.

ABC News’ Nightline also dropped the ball on December 18, 2018, when they aired their anatomy of the October 1 Las Vegas Massacre, ‘A Killer on Floor 32.’  ABC News completely left out any mention of not only Hendrex’s armed contingent failing to act to save lives, but they also failed to mention the three armed security personnel who were on the 32nd floor while Paddock was firing, and they too did nothing.

ABC did interview Mandalay Bay Security Officer Jesus Campos, but they failed to ask him why he didn’t call in and investigate when he heard drilling noises emanating from Paddock’s suite prior to the gunfire commencing after he had observed the bracket drilled into the 32nd floor fire stairwell door. Campos ignored it and just walked away down the hall. Some great national investigative journalism at work on that one.

It’s the same old story time and again. Everybody must cover everybody’s ass and the truth be damned and the hell with Freedom of the Press and informing the public of the facts.

In July of 2018, MGMRI did a despicable move when they filed lawsuits against more than 1,000 victims and survivors of the Massacre, claiming that MGMRI was immune from being sued based on “The Safety Act”.

How low can you go was evident when MGMRI hired process servers to go to the homes and workplaces of the survivors to serve them with the papers. MGMRI showed they could care less about the victim’s feelings and trauma and went into the gutter with that move.

On January 9, 2019, the Baltimore Post-Examiner published ‘Mock juries rule against MGM Resorts International Las Vegas in concert massacre, source says’. After that story was published, on February 19, attorneys representing MGMRI agreed to mediation with attorneys for the victims of the Las Vegas Massacre.

Once the mediation started all the lawsuits and court motions were put on hold.

The FBI took possession of all the evidence related to the October 1, 2017 mass shooting. To this day the FBI has not released any of their forensic analysis reports or investigative files to the public.

The Las Vegas Massacre was foreseeable and preventable and that is why MGMRI entered mediation and will settle.  If they don’t, MGMRI will lose their case in front of a civil jury, that you can bet on.

The heroes of October 1, 2017 were the police officers, fire and rescue personnel along with the many civilians who saved lives that night.

To the families of those who were killed and all the survivors, my heart goes out to you all and I will continue to investigate this tragedy until the entire truth comes out.

Unfortunately, many questions that are still outstanding surrounding the Las Vegas Massacre will most likely go unanswered.

In closing, my condolences to the family of California attorney Catherine Rose Lombardo (no relation to Sheriff Joe Lombardo) who passed away on September 18 in her home in Claremont, California. Catherine was just 54 years old and lost her 4-year battle against Ovarian Cancer.

We appeared together as guests on several shows discussing the Las Vegas Massacre. I spoke to Catherine a few weeks before her death and I knew she wasn’t doing well.

We last appeared together on the Jim Paris Live radio show on January 6. Catherine commented during the show, “I can’t say enough wonderful things about Doug Poppa and all his investigating. He has benefited everyone, immensely. He’s the one that knows more than anyone, he’s the one that’s been on the ground investigating this.”

Catherine was an outspoken voice for the victims and survivors of the Las Vegas Massacre, and she will always be remembered.





About the author

Doug Poppa

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. Contact the author.
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6 Comments

  1. David says:

    Paddock didn’t shoot anybody. Better check the John Cullen investigation which proves that 6 unidentified helicopters were in the air at the time of the shooting. It was an ISIS attack (ISIS claimed responsibility 4 times). This is nothing but a cover-up by FBI and LVMPD.

    Reply
    • Roger A Kenis says:

      Listening to Cullen, will lead you to plain old BS. I was actually there and well lets just say I have alot more unfortunate expirences at getting shot at. It wasn’t coming from any helos. All the flashy lights in the videos and not one video showing anyone firing, should let common sense dictate the facts. You have been hosed, while he is trying to make himself relevant and newsworthy. He has zero to do with this situation beyond sticking his nose in it. He and a few others are trying to profit off this situation, as they change their disclaimers to opinion pieces because I warned him on using my video without permission and trying to get paid subscribers while claiming its debunked. It is not, its credible and anyone with half a brain can see thru the lies because of what it represents: A FACT that the powers that be dont want to answer for.

      Reply
    • Roger A Kenis says:

      The bigger question which will lead you to the truth is asking: Why did the FBI and LVMPD never come take a sworn statement from me or my ex but only email contact/visits by FBI, as witnesses that were there. Pretty easy answer, because what Ive said has vastly been truthful and factual. And I can prove it. No major media will speak to me and the only one that did spent a year doing so, then retired. Why? There could be several reasons but maybe a very simple one as well because its the truth.

      Reply
  2. Roger A Kenis says:

    Joe,

    You might wonder why I didnt send this privately but publically? The answer is rather simple. It is just as much about asking you for help, as it is me. Im also asking for redemption from my own percieved failures that night. I hope that makes sense.

    Reply
  3. Roger Kenis says:

    Dear Sheriff Lombardo,

    After coming back from yet another weekly therapy session and having just found out just beforehand that another one of my fellow Marines and dear friend (Jeff Briar) died while saving two children from drowning last week in San Diego, I can only thank god for men like him that died, as he always lived, as a hero.

    I only ask that even through my rant and poor writing skills, you listen closely as there will be a test at the end.

    I’ve spent the last few years of my life broken and beaten down with repeated tragedies, and the last two in turmoil over the 58 lives lost, their families, and the loss of my relationship because of it all but the one thing that hits me the hardest was Carrie Ray Barnette. A young woman so full of life and so full of promise from what I’ve come to read about her.

    I had to make a decision on 1 October 2017, to do what I had been trained to do, to quickly assess the situation, and save who I thought had the best chance to be saved. It’s a decision, I wish upon no one, and for those that have had to make it I can only hope that their hearts have found peace. I’m still searching for it and it has lead me here. I can’t force people to do the right thing but I can encourage it.

    I have struggled like so many others from that night, but this story isn’t really about me. This is a story of redemption. I can only hope one day, I can do something in my life to honor her memory. For the last two years, my mission has been to get the truth told about that godawful night.

    I could easily be viewed as someone standing in judgement of you and others, but this is about something much greater than egos, it’s about honor, and honoring those that we lost. While you maybe working hard to fix some of the things that went wrong. I think you have taken that role on without consideration of what your duty actually is. Your duty WAS and is NOT to the prosperity of the city, but to defend your people from evil, to tell the TRUTH, for justice, and accountability.

    While I can see, “that you might be thinking that it would be easy for me to say and that I don’t understand the magnitude of the great responsibilities that you have”, I would say you are wrong. I’ve lead men in combat operations and I’ve lost of them during and a lot after.

    This country wonders why we have a suicide problem, and while there are many reasons why, I would dare to say they have seen what it’s become and where it’s heading, and lost hope that it might change.

    I’m here to encourage people that even during the most difficult decisions of our lives, we can be that difference, to stand and to always fight for what’s right. We can seek redemption and still hold our honor clean. I was reminded of that today when I watched the younger brother of the man shot and killed by that officer, hug and forgive her, for her failures that night.

    In the Corps I had to learn to think like my enemy. I had to study human behavior/psychology, which required me to learn how they think to try to be a good interrogator against evil.

    Men that use their brains in evil ways to point out a problem, like “Ted Kazynski”, then try to use what I’ve learned to defend against their evil ways. He railed against the internet, but instead of finding a way to address those concerns he committed evil acts, when he felt it was to big for just him, and that no one would listen, or the powers that be would roll over his concerns for money.

    Kindof like Paddock pointing out the corruption and mob-like structure in Las Vegas controlling the city.

    I’m not here to defend Paddock, justify his actions, or ever praise anything he was about, because like Ted, he was evil. He chose to do evil things to address his grievances.

    I left that position n the Corps not because I wanted to but because I had to put my child before my own ambitions. I spent my whole life wanting to eventually go into law enforcement of some type. I grew up watching all of the crime stories, on terrorism, murderers, and even serial killers.

    In today’s standards, that could be viewed as a problem because many of those same type of kids end up using those things to become evil but every once in awhile along comes a kid that just wants to be the good guy that stops the bad guy. I can only imagine when you began your career, you too were that kid at one point in your life.

    All of this lead me to learn about what makes murderers, terrorists, and everyday common criminals think.

    I believe in your heart you are a good man that unfortunately became compromised, and even if you think you are saving your city financially, you don’t realize that your actions continue to create more problems in the future. More kids that turn into men like Ted and Stephen.

    Your compromise in values shows them, “to take what you want and to hell with everyone else”. Selfish egos. While it may not be your future paycheck you are protecting at Wynn, Sands, Caesars, or MGM (or in real estate); you are ultimately protecting a system that benefits greedy corporations that sacrifice human life, truth, justice, and the American way, for the all mighty dollar when they can get away with using our media, law enforcement, and governments to suppress the truth to maintain control.

    Like a natural disaster, you can’t control everything bad that happens to your city, or the marketplace where winners and losers happen everyday. You are allowing the blackjack tables to be controlled even more than the odds already sitting with the house, whether it started long before you or not.

    Las Vegas wasn’t built in a day, and it won’t ever be destroyed in a day either. I’m aware of the need to diversify beyond gambling but compromising the values men like Charles Hartfield, my friend Jeff Briar, Doug Poppa, and myself believe in is not the way.

    I don’t know if you actually believe in a God, but I believe I’ve seen things only he could do and it’s better to believe, than be wrong. Either way, we all will face our end one day. I’d rather be at peace when that time comes with my actions, even through all of my wrongs and the sins I’ve committed. Much like with the families and survivors, I would rather ask for forgiveness than take what isn’t mine.

    So what is it going to be Joe,? Are you going to TAKE your shot at redemption, or are you going to humbly ask for it? Will you tell the world the truth so that we may find peace thru the truth?

    Today, I learn to try to live again and do greater things because of better men than I, gave it their all for that idea. Like that young man today, (that’s wise beyond his years) I forgive you.

    Sincerely,
    Roger A. Kenis

    Reply
  4. Dave says:

    Doug, thank you for your tireless effort in finding the truth here. That the FBI is not releasing any forensic computer analysis, etc. is highly suspect, and only adds to the narrative that something nefarious happened in addition to the tragic loss of human life. I’ve suspected all along Las Vegas would cover everything up to keep the tourism industry thriving. That the FBI is complicit now, is disturbing.

    Reply

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