MGM Resorts International executive knew before October 1 a sniper attack from a high rise hotel was a serious threatLos Angeles Post-Examiner

MGM Resorts International executive knew before October 1 a sniper attack from a high rise hotel was a serious threat

LAS VEGAS — A former ranking member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department told the Los Angeles Post-Examiner that MGM Resorts International (MGMRI) Executive Director of Corporate Security and Surveillance, Tom Lozich, knew prior to the October 1, 2017 massacre that a sniper attack from an elevated position in a hotel high-rise posed a threat.

Lozich is a retired deputy chief with the LVMPD. In 2008 he was hired by MGM Mirage Corporation, now known as MGMRI. According to the police source Lozich, while employed at MGM was present during a training exercise when an FBI sniper shot a mannequin placed inside a window simulating a sniper at a hotel high-rise.

The Los Angeles Post-Examiner first reported in a previous article that a training exercise conducted by the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) and attended by members of the LVMPD was eerily similar to the sniper attack from an elevated position that occurred on October 1, 2017.

An FBI Hostage Rescue Team training exercise

As stated in that article, sometime after the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas closed in May 2011 and prior to renovations to transform the property into the SLS Resort, the property was used for a training exercise conducted by the FBI and LVMPD personnel.

Since that story was published the Los Angeles Post-Examiner was told by several other sources that in addition to LVMPD and FBI personnel, there was also some security professionals from the Las Vegas hotel industry also in attendance.

During the training exercise, a mannequin was placed inside one of the high-rise tower rooms near a window, to simulate an attacker. The FBI sniper who was inside an FBI helicopter hovering over the Las Vegas Strip successfully made the shot and hit the mannequin.

This raises some serious questions as to why there weren’t LVMPD snipers deployed during the Route 91 Music Festival.

Not only were the LVMPD and the FBI aware that a threat existed from an elevated sniper attack in a hotel high-rise, hence the training exercise, but there was also an MGM Resorts International security executive present.

Why wasn’t this threat a concern and was it raised by Lozich during the planning stages of the Route 91 Music Festival. The concert venue property is owned by MGMRI and the venue is surrounded by hotel high-rise towers.

In addition, on November 29, 2014, a housekeeping attendant entered a room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, an MGMRI owned property, and according to court documents noticed a rifle with a scope lying on the floor pointing towards the Las Vegas Strip. Security was contacted and the LVMPD responded. A convicted felon, Kye Aaron Dunbar, and his wife were occupying the room. The police confiscated a homemade suppressor (commonly referred to as a silencer), three handguns, two .223 caliber semi-automatic rifles, and a 7.62 NATO caliber bolt-action rifle.

MGM Grand Resort (Claudia Gestro)

No doubt MGM Resorts International corporate security knew about this incident. Less than three years later, Stephen Paddock brought twenty-three firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition into his Mandalay Bay Hotel suite, and initiated a sniper attack from his elevated position, down into the concert venue, resulting in the worst mass shooting in modern American history.

On October 1, 2017, after Stephen Paddock had stopped firing from his 32nd-floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the LVMPD did deploy SWAT snipers, however by the time they were deployed Paddock had stopped firing.

The Los Angeles Post-Examiner was told that an LVMPD sniper was inside a police helicopter armed with a rifle with optics capable of looking in the room and asked the pilot to get as close as possible to the broken-out window, however the pilot refused because he was unsure if anyone in the room would start firing again and endanger the aircraft.

When the LVMPD released police body-worn camera footage of the ad-hoc SWAT Team making entry into Paddock’s suite at 11:20 p.m., you can hear on the audio an officer communicating on his police radio with another officer named Jaire. According to police sources, Jaire was the LVMPD sniper who was inside the police helicopter.

The Route 91 Harvest festival was canceled this year; however, the Life is Beautiful Music and Art Festival went on as planned from September 21 through September 23.

A police source told the Los Angeles Post Examiner in July that the LVMPD would be deploying SWAT snipers during Life is Beautiful, which was confirmed when the police publicly announced in August that there would be snipers deployed in the area of the festival.

Route 91 attendees fleeing the venue

Paddock murdered 58 concert attendees.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s final criminal investigative report on the massacre states that 869 people sustained physical injuries and the police were able to confirm approximately 413 had sustained gunshot or shrapnel injuries.  Approximately 360 victims sustained injuries other than gunshot or shrapnel injuries.  Approximately 96 people were identified as having sustained an injury, but the type of injury sustained was unable to be confirmed.  The police report states these numbers reflect data collected through August 2, 2018.  Due to the mass number, types of injuries sustained, and subjects who were treated and released prior to police contact, a definitive number of people who sustained gunshot or shrapnel injuries is not known.

Had snipers been deployed in the vicinity of the Route 91 Harvest festival, could they have reacted in that ten minute period and stopped Paddock from his continued firing and saved lives?

We will never know because they were not there.

What we do know is that because of the massacre that happened on that tragic night in Las Vegas in 2017, the police thought it prudent to have snipers deployed at this year’s Life is Beautiful festival, the first major outdoor event since last October.

We seem to learn the hard way in this country.

It is extremely sad that nobody at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and MGM Resorts International that was involved with the planning of the Route 91 Harvest music festival thought outside the box, that just maybe the concert venue could be vulnerable from a sniper attack from an elevated position.

In a June 6, 2011, Security magazine article, Tom Lozich was quoted as saying, “My days are now spent thinking about prevention because just one event along the Strip could have catastrophic effects for the entire economic vitality of this state.”

The Route 91 Harvest Music Festival had a catastrophic effect on human lives and that is something you cannot put a price on.

This past Monday marked one year since the tragedy. Let us never forget those 58 lost souls, their families and all those who survived that horrific attack.

Lozich did not return calls from the Los Angeles Post-Examiner.





About the author

Doug Poppa

Doug Poppa is a United States Army Military Police Veteran, former law enforcement officer, criminal investigator and private sector security and investigations management professional with 35 years of real-world investigative experience. He has 19 years experience in a hotel and casino environment, 14 of which were in security management positions. In 1986 he was awarded Criminal Investigator of the Year by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office in Virginia for his undercover work in narcotics enforcement. Contact the author.

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