Las Vegas Metro SWAT officer inside Mandalay Bay night of massacre: 'Hey, is Route 91 a club here?' - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Las Vegas Metro SWAT officer inside Mandalay Bay night of massacre: ‘Hey, is Route 91 a club here?’

LAS VEGAS — The October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre was the worst mass shooting in modern American history and the largest mass-casualty shooting incident in the history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and still the department’s investigation has left more questions than answers.

As I was reviewing LVMPD body camera video footage for a follow-up to our March 21 story, “Las Vegas Metro Police SWAT Officer Levi Hancock describes breaching Paddock’s hotel suite,” I came across a statement that was made by LVMPD SWAT Officer Brett Brosnahan after Paddock’s suite was breached and the team was leaving the 32ndfloor.

The time is about 11:45 p.m. on October 1, 2017.  At the 3:24 minute mark into the body-worn camera video:

Brosnahan: Hey, is Route 91 a club here?

Unknown: No, it’s across the street, it’s that festival, that big open area right across the street.

Brosnahan: Because he was firing at that?

Unknown: Yeah.

The LVMPD Public Information Office does not respond to our media requests for comment, so I will address this directly to Sheriff Joe Lombardo who runs the LVMPD.

How is it that a member of the SWAT team did not know what the Route 91 was, that he believed based on his question, that it was a nightclub inside the Mandalay Bay?

Why is it that some police officers who spoke to the Baltimore Post-Examiner who had responded to the Route 91 music festival from outside the Convention Center Area Command stated that they weren’t sure what Route 91 was, some thought it was a street route that they were unfamiliar with?

SWAT Officer: “Hey, is Route 91 a club here?”

One police officer stated he never saw any department memo at any roll-call briefing indicating that the three-day event was even taking place.

Totally unacceptable and beyond imagination, if true.

Lombardo, tell us this is not so, that patrol officers city-wide were not informed of the three-day event.

Please provide the Baltimore Post-Examiner with documentation to clarify what we were told, one way or another and we will update our story.

Were all SWAT team members notified prior to the event that a three-day music festival with 20,000 attendees would be taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, just in case they had to respond for an incident?

SWAT Officers O’Donnell and Brosnahan

Did any member of the SWAT team conduct a recon of the festival grounds during the planning stages for the festival?

If not, then why and if so let’s see the plans.

Both the LVMPD and MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Las Vegas Village grounds, the site of the Route 91 Music Festival, had foreseeability that a sniper attack from an elevated position posed a threat.

Both the LVMPD and MGMRI were also aware of an incident in 2014 when a convicted felon had brought a small arsenal into one of the high-rise towers of the Mandalay Bay and had one of his high-powered rifles pointed toward the Las Vegas Strip.

For further on all that read our September 29, 2018 story, EXCLUSIVE: MGM Resorts International executive knew that a sniper attack from a hotel high rise posed a threat prior to October 1 massacre.

SWAT Officer Levi Hancock talking to Sean O’Donnell

Texas SWAT officer told LVMPD that Dallas would have had snipers deployed

In more than 135 stories that I have authored for the Baltimore Post-Examiner about the Massacre and the subsequent criminal investigation, I have questioned in numerous articles why SWAT snipers were not deployed in the area of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.

According to a law enforcement source who spoke to the Baltimore Post-Examiner,  after the Las Vegas Massacre, a Dallas Texas SWAT sniper told the LVMPD during a training exercise that based on Dallas SWAT team criteria that if the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival had occurred in Dallas, that their SWAT team would have been deployed during the event.

LVMPD SWAT Officers Levi Hancock and Sean O’Donnell talk about accidental discharge

As I stated earlier, the reason I was reviewing the previously described police body-worn camera video, was to follow-up on our March 21 story and to provide further insight into why SWAT Officer Sean O’Donnell fired his weapon in Paddock’s suite.

The following is a conversation between Levi Hancock and O’Donnell after they had cleared Paddock’ suite.  The conversation occurs at the 2: 38-minute mark into the video and this is the best I can make of the audio:

Hancock: You good?

O’Donnell: Yep.

Hancock: You just AD? [accidental discharge].

O’Donnell: Kind of got bumped, I don’t know what happened.  Basically, it was an AD.  I saw that gun on the bed but I really wasn’t trying to shoot at it.

Hancock: Yeah.

Later in that same video while other officers were clearing the hotel rooms at the 20: 38-minute mark:

Officer: Hey, you know what’s really bad….

Officer: Were you up here when….

Officer: You remember the three-round burst….

Officer: You know, you hear what I’m saying.

There are still those out there that contend the police shot Paddock. That did not happen, so knock off that nonsense and let’s move on.  There is so much of what we still don’t know about the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre but that is not it.

Whether O’Donnell had an accidental discharge when he got bumped or intentionally shot when he saw the gun on the bed, who cares.

Paddock was already dead.  It was a high-intensity situation and things like that happen.  It’s not even on my radar anymore.

Personally, I wish they had blasted Paddock straight to hell.

Had that happened don’t you think that Lombardo would have had the shooter all over the media for months?

And right now he would be retired, sipping margaritas on the beach thinking about the millions that he made on book and movie deals as the SWAT officer who killed the worst mass shooter in American history.

One more thing before I close.

Field Training Officer Cordell Hendrex was a coward, no matter what LVMPD Police Protective Association President Steve Grammas said to the media last week.

My question to Grammas is this; How many people were being killed and wounded at the festival while Hendrex and his armed contingent stood by for several minutes in safety one floor below and did absolutely nothing?

Explain that Grammas to the families of the deceased and the survivors who were shot and your own officers who were wounded and pinned down by Paddock’s gunfire as Hendrex retreated.

As I stated in prior stories, SWAT snipers should have been deployed in the area of the music festival, that would have saved lives on October 1.

Editor’s Note: Listen to Doug Poppa on the Pat Campbell show.





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

4 Comments

  1. Richard says:

    Meanwhile a brilliant, capable and qualified man sits at home instead of being the Chief law enforcement officer for Clark County. I’m awaiting the call.

    Reply
  2. Mike says:

    It’s all corruption because the political process is broken which means the people that get elected are not the most qualified for the positions. Its all about money and favors!

    Reply
  3. Roger A Kenis says:

    Ohhh, one more question. How did Mike Turber get ahold of glass from 32-134 and 32-135? From what I understand, the glass was collected days later. So, how secure was the crime scene after? I would think every possible bit would have been collected and documented as a part of the crime scene… obviously someone could have gathered some of it before it was secured, but this glass was apparently left. Maybe the FIT Team wasnt the A team? Just because there was an Negligent Discharge, not Accidental Discharge. While it is a high stress environment, thats exactly what we still call it in the military. This is my rifle, and Im the one responsible for it and all the ammo, and following the safety rules. This is not about the officer but the fact that the FIT TEAM should have just been responsible for his discharge, but not the premier homicide investigative department that should have been on the jon as the A team… I think America deserves to know what the reasoning really was? Was it that your number twos wife was in charge of that FIT team, so you could control it more? Inquiring minds would like to know.

    Reply
  4. Roger Kenis says:

    Obviously, a piss poorly planned event all the way around. Id like to know who the special events coordinating Lt was, that was in charge of the group for the event; how many events has he planned before, and whom he notified of the event? Since Patrol, SWAT, and EMS services didnt seem to get notified.

    If he’s run this section for awhile, has he deployed snipers or DMs in prior events? If new at it, who failed to oversee his plan, or review it? I bet some of that boils down to the $ MGMRI was willing to spend.

    I would think alot of that could be cleared up really fast. How about it Sheriff? Time to lay it all out.

    This is not going to just go away, no matter how much time you all want to pass. People are still paying attention, plenty of us around the country. Learn from your own lessons and share them, so the next city is prepared to plan properly. The more you duck the questions, the more damage you are really doing to hurt the Department. I thought your goal was to protect it, so now it seems the turning point has made you a part of its falling. This is not on the individual officers doing their duty, but the leadership failures that started even prior to this event. If you cant handle the heat, you know what they say…

    And to duck Doug for reporting it because of press creds, when you know damn well hes more suited than any mainstream reporter to ask questions on this subject, is a total BS move. Infact, it tells me very clearly you are more chickenshit than Hendrix. At least he had the guts to admit the truth.

    Prove me wrong, Joe. Thats not personal but professionally speaking. Personal, was getting shot at for 10 mins. So losing your power as Sheriff, doesnt mean anything at the end of the day to me. You will be off working for one of the casinos or living it up in retirement ie doing side real estate deals… wonder how much digging should be done there? I could be wrong, but I hear some stuff is there to be looked at. If true, it would explain alot. Id bet the apple didnt fall far from the tree.

    If not, I’ll apologize nationally when you come out and tell the world the truth on 1 Oct but until then, you can stay in denial. Leaders practice what they preach. You can be a good man, and falter. You aren’t one, if you keep digging in to CYA. The truth matters.

    Reply

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