MGM Resorts International hires retired Las Vegas SWAT officers - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

MGM Resorts International hires retired Las Vegas SWAT officers

LAS VEGAS – A former Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department member told the Baltimore Post-Examiner on Monday that MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, has hired former members of the LVMPD SWAT Team for positions in Security.

The Mandalay Bay Hotel was the location where on October 1, 2017, gunman Stephen Paddock fired from his 32ndfloor suite windows into a crowd of 22,000 concert-goers at the Route 91 Music Festival.  58 people were killed, and hundreds of others wounded in what is currently the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

Two names provided to the Baltimore Post-Examiner were retired LVMPD Lt. Chris Petko and retired LVMPD Officer, Manny Rivera, Jr.  Both Petko and Rivera are former members of the LVMPD SWAT Team.

The Baltimore Post-Examiner also learned that three other former LVMPD SWAT Team members retired Sgt. Rod Hunt, Sgt. John Sheahan and Detective, Anton Gorup were also hired by MGMRI.

All five former SWAT Team members were hired between December 2017 and January 2018.  All five were retired from the LVMPD prior to the October 1 massacre.

According to their LinkedIn accounts, all five men are employed by MGMRI; Petko is an Emergency Response Team Supervisor/Training Coordinator, Rivera is an Emergency Response Team Supervisor, Sheahan is an Emergency Response Team Supervisor/Training Coordinator, Gorup is an Emergency Response Team Supervisor and Hunt a Supervisor.

Chris Petko was one of four SWAT Team members who on Jan. 19, 1996 shot a man several times after he had earlier shot and wounded a Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper in the leg and then fired at SWAT officers when they arrived at the scene.  A SWAT officer was hit in the arm.  The suspect later died.

The Baltimore Post-Examiner did not receive a response from the MGMRI press information office on Monday when a request was sent inquiring what the function of the Emergency Response Team is at MGMRI, when was it formed, do all the MGMRI owned properties have such teams, are they in place on a 24/7 basis, and are they armed and trained to respond to active shooter and or terrorist incidents.

The LVMPD received widespread criticism after the October 1 massacre because the full LVMPD SWAT Team did not make entry into Stephen Paddock’s suite as Clark County Sheriff, Joe Lombardo and Undersheriff Kevin McMahill had told the press.

The entry was made one hour and five minutes after Paddock fired his last shots, by one SWAT Team member with an an-hoc team consisting of patrol officers and K-9 officers.  To this day Lombardo has not revealed why the full SWAT Team was not available.

Earlier this year MGMRI, the owners of the property where the Route 91 Music Festival occurred stated they were donating a portion of the land to the LVMPD for a SWAT headquarters.

October 1, 2017, was not the first time that LVMPD SWAT officers had to enter an MGMRI property and later found someone dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

On December 10, 2014, the LVMPD SWAT Team responded to the MGM Grand Hotel for a report of a suicidal man with a gun in one of the hotel rooms.  After several hours of negotiation, the SWAT Team made entry and found the man dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Las Vegas resorts normally will not respond to inquiries from the press concerning their on-site security forces.





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.

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