MGM Resorts statements in conflict with LVMPD reportLos Angeles Post-Examiner

MGM Resorts statements in conflict with LVMPD report

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s final criminal investigative report on the October 1 Las Vegas massacre at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival contradicts a statement made by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who runs the LVMPD.

Lombardo had said during an interview in November 2017 that the incident was not a barricaded subject incident and that police had to get into Paddocks suite immediately after the gunfire stopped.

We know that didn’t happen. According to the LVMPD final report:

The sound of gunfire had ceased. The officers transitioned from an active shooter protocol to barricaded subject protocol and began slowly and methodically evacuating guests from their hotel rooms.

2241 hours – A Strike Team, which included Sergeant Bitsko, Officer Newton, SWAT Officer Hancock, and Detective Walford ascended the stairs from the 30th floor. The Strike Team made entry and cleared the 31st floor.

2256 hours – The Strike Team reentered the stairwell from the 31st floor and walked up to the 32nd floor.

2320 hours – The Strike Team conducted an explosive breach into Room 32-135 and made entry. The Strike Team reported Paddock was down from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

One month after the massacre, on November 2, 2017, Lombardo was interviewed on local television station KLAS-TV.

Lombardo said during the interview, “Now in normal practice, if we were going to execute a search warrant on a barricaded individual we could take all time we need and bring all the resources to bare to (ensure) everybody’s safety, in this case, because of what the suspect did, the officers made the decision to breach this doorway of the hotel room in case this guy was reloading, maybe he was reloading magazines, we didn’t want to give him the opportunity to keep firing and when they made entry they found out he committed suicide.”  

Sheriff Joe Lombardo

The statement made by Lombardo is factually incorrect or in law enforcement terms, a lie. The Strike Team mentioned in the final police report was the ad-hoc SWAT Team that was put together by SWAT Officer Levi Hancock. That team didn’t reach the 32nd floor until almost forty-five minutes after Paddock fired his last shots.

Before I go any further I want to repeat what I wrote in a prior story. I must give plenty of credit to SWAT Officers Levi Hancock and Sean O’Donnell. They responded directly to the Mandalay Bay Hotel and the final police report confirms this.

What the police report doesn’t mention is that the SWAT commander gave the order for the SWAT team members to respond to the South Central Area Command, which is a half a mile south of Mandalay Bay and not directly to the hotel. Then from the SCAC they responded to the hotel.

Numerous police body-worn camera footage that was released by court order the past few months shows numerous patrol officers armed with shotguns and assault rifles in addition to their sidearms, on the 32nd floor within minutes after Paddock stopped firing. No attempt was made to breach Paddock’s suite as Lombardo had stated back in November.

Who gave that freaking order?

Officer Hendrex and Mandalay Security Officers

One LVMPD patrol officer even said to another officer on one of the body-worn camera videos that they should have gone into the room.  He was correct.

So, if there was this concern for the public safety as Lombardo said, if they believed Paddock might have been loading more magazines and didn’t want to give him the opportunity to open fire again, then why wasn’t the suite breached prior to 11:20 p.m., over one hour after the gunfire stopped?

If the police truly believed he might have been reloading, would it have been proper police protocol to wait until he opened fire again and started killing, then breach the door immediately?

And let us not forget LVMPD Officers Cordell Hendrex, Eliff Varsin, and three armed Mandalay Bay security managers who were one floor below Paddock on the 31st floor while the gunfire was ongoing and made no attempt to get to the 32nd floor to stop Paddock.

Also, on the 32nd floor while Paddock was still firing and confirmed in the police final report, were armed Mandalay Bay Security Operations Manager, Anthony Sottile, and two armed Mandalay Bay Security Bike Patrol Officers.

Fact is, people were being shot and killed and there was a total of eight armed officers in the vicinity and they did nothing to try to stop Paddock.

Sounds like a catastrophic failure all the way around.

View from the Foundation Room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino

And what does the final police report say about Hendrex cowering on the 31st floor? Nothing, except this:

This is not a review of every officer’s actions or responses that took place that night. An administrative review, which is an internal process, will address issues surrounding tactics, training, decision making, policy and protocols.

To put it in plain language, that translates into it will be a personnel issue and the results most likely will never be made public.

But don’t worry about that, because there are always leaks.

 

 

 

 


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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