Paddock not first shooter on an MGM Resorts International property - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Paddock not first shooter on an MGM Resorts International property

Shootings are nothing new on Las Vegas hotel and casino properties, they have been occurring for years.

Stephen Paddock was not the first active shooter inside a Las Vegas hotel casino property that was owned by MGM Resorts International.

On July 6, 2007 at 12:45 a.m., Steven Zegrean, 51, a resident of Las Vegas opened fire inside the MGMRI owned New York New York Hotel from a balcony overlooking the casino floor.

Zegrean fired sixteen rounds from a firearm he had concealed under his trench coat, wounding four tourists. All four survived the attack.

The gunfire caused a stampede as patrons of the casino ran from the building.

A Navy reservist from Jacksonville, Fla., a North Dakota Army National Guard reservist, and two brothers who were special agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, all off-duty visiting Las Vegas, disarmed and subdued Zegrean.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Captain James Dillon told the press at the time that the subject was capable and motivated to continue shooting, but he was tackled and taken into custody after the first volley of rounds. Dillon said that Zegrean had extra ammunition in his trench coat when he was apprehended, and may have wanted to provoke a fatal confrontation with police.

Dillon called the four men who subdued Zegrean heroes.

A tourist from Florida told the media at the time that, “All I was thinking was that I could die right now.”

Another tourist from Michigan stated, “There were flip-flops just laying all over the place like people were running out of their shoes. Within a minute and a half there were 30 to 40 police there. The cops just swarmed the place with M-16s and their guns out.”

Las Vegas casinos had other shooting incidents inside their properties over the years. The following is not all inclusive.

February 2000, a 56-year-old casino customer was shot while sitting inside the then Stardust Hotel Casino. He ran outside and collapsed on the sidewalk and later died. The shooter had no connection to the man.

September 2000, a theft suspect fired two shots while struggling with unarmed security officers inside Harrah’s Hotel Casino. One security officer was wounded, and a 29-year-old female tourist was shot in the back, killing her.

November 2000, a 37-year-old blackjack dealer was shot to death while working inside the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino by her boyfriend.

February 2006, Curtis Bonilla shot and killed another man inside Harrah’s Hotel. He then barricaded himself inside his room and fired shots at the police leading to a six-hour standoff. LVMPD SWAT officers finally rappelled down the 29-story hotel tower and crashed through the 20th floor window subduing Bonilla.

December 2006, a man shot and killed a woman then killed himself at the front entrance of the MGM Resorts International owned Excalibur Hotel-Casino.

August 2007, two men were shot sustaining non-life-threatening injuries at Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino after a fistfight erupted at the Strip hotel.

There are no metal detectors to walk through when you enter a Las Vegas hotel as when you go through an airport, federal buildings and some state and local buildings.

One casino owner has been telling the media that his company has metal detectors and devices at every entrance of his building for employees and guests that are non-visible to the public.

Outstanding if he does, however I am skeptical.

I don’t know what if anything he has, but I was trained in the use of magnetometers and other body scanning devices and one thing I do know is that for those devices to work properly and detect concealed weapons one person at a time at a normal pace must pass through the detectors, otherwise they are useless.

I don’t know of any hotel casino in Las Vegas that has a line of folks waiting to be scanned before they enter the property.

Some properties do use magnetometers at nightclubs and concert arenas but like I said, I know of none that use those devices for the public entering the hotel casino. Yet.










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.

One Comment

  1. Peter Quennell says:

    Invaluable. My career in the UN and Federal Government consisted of managing to make systems better, a very difficult thing to do right, and a very key step is a clear eyed view of what we actually have. It seems to me Doug Poppa has rare talent at explaining this in the enforcement field. BTW getting systems right is a non-political thing to do to which everybody can contribute which reduces polarization and moves everybody forward.


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