Las Vegas Massacre attorney slams MGMRI on radio showLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Las Vegas Massacre attorney slams MGMRI on radio show

LAS VEGAS — On Sunday, January 6, 2019, California attorney, Catherine Lombardo (no relation to Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo) one of the attorneys representing the victims of the Las Vegas Massacre and I were guests on the Jim Paris Live radio show.

The topic of the entire two-hour show was the October 1, 2017 Las Vegas Massacre.

Lombardo was asked several questions relating to the ongoing civil cases against MGM Resorts International, the owners of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and the Las Vegas Village grounds were the Route 91 Harvest music festival was occurring when gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 concert goers and wounded nearly 500.

On October 1, 2017 while Paddock was firing down onto the crowd from inside his Mandalay Bay Hotel 32nd floor snipers nest for over ten minutes, no one countered his gunfire as the bullets from his weapons were slaughtering and wounding those below.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officers Cordell Hendrex and Eliff Varsin, along with three armed Mandalay Bay Hotel assistant security managers, all retreated on the 31st floor for several minutes and failed to take any action to reach Paddock to stop, disrupt and or distract him as his gunfire continued on.

Above them, on the 32nd floor, also while Paddock’s gunfire was ongoing, was armed Mandalay Bay Hotel Security Operations Manager, Anthony Sottile and two armed security bike patrol officers who also took no action against Paddock.

Excerpts from the Jim Paris Live radio show are as follows:

Paris: Let me start by asking you, it seems we established in the first hour with Doug Poppa and everything I’ve read that there’s still a lot of information that we don’t have, so as an attorney how do you take a case to trial without having just the base facts to even go with and that being the case how many years is it going to take before you’re able to see a courtroom?

Lombardo: No, it won’t take long, in fact we’ve been conducting our investigation, I have been along with my team since day one and obviously I’ve spoken with hundreds and hundreds of people and I have reviewed all of the evidence that we were able to obtain, even before the Las Vegas Metro Police started to release the information and you know in a lawsuit, I filed a lawsuit, it gives me subpoena power and it gives me the power to conduct a civil investigation, so I can go out there and do that.

Paris: Are they responsive to you though, the FBI for example still has not provided all of what they have.

Lombardo: Yeah, I’m not, so, as part of the civil litigation we’re suing MGM as the parent company the owner of the Mandalay Bay casino and so our subpoenas were directed towards them, towards the city, for public records. For example, one of the very first pieces of the evidence that I was able to obtain was the actual permit that was the application for the permit that was taken out for the October 1, 2017 Route 91 Harvest music festival. And low and behold when you see the application, the person who filled out the application and signed it was an MGM executive official. Not Live Nation Entertainment, not the other people who were involved in the music festival, it was MGM and you have to understand that the property that the concert occurred on is also owned by Mandalay Bay which of course is owned by MGM. So things like that are public records requests and any other evidence that we can gather.

Luxor (Claudia Gestro)

Lombardo: We were there on October 31, 2017. We being my lawyers that are my partners and our investigator, our 3D mapping team, our security experts, we were there on the scene before the FBI allowed it to be open to the vendors to come and get their stuff and tear it down. So as we walked through it on Halloween day of 2017 it was very very eerie. Everything was the same, except of course that the FBI had been there, and they did pull up all of the green fake grass carpeting, they did paint over the blood stains they had numbered, the shooting bullet holes, so they painted that over. They had picked through the items, for example, all of the vendor’s tables and booths and carts were still there with the merchandise still on the table. The for sale signs, last day only, two for one, booth sales, it was …

Paris: It sounds like a scene from the Twilight Zone, I mean it was all there. One of the things as an attorney, I’m curious, I’m not an attorney, you’re an attorney of course, how much of your damages are going to be based on how long it took for them to breach that door because I don’t want to second judge the police but that’s the, of all the things about this, that is the one thing that I cannot come to grips with, is to sit outside that door and hear those shots going off, and the screams, and to just continue to sit outside that door, is that a large part of your case?

Lombardo: Yes, against MGM, absolutely. I’m sure that Doug Poppa who I think is on the show with us right now, is Doug…

Paris: He is. We’re about to get to that, maybe this is the opportunity, Doug, your thoughts about, as a former police officer, of course, post-Columbine, they were supposed to charge into these situations, not sit outside and wait for some other command or what not. What are your thoughts on why they waited?

Poppa: Lets put something in perspective here. While the shooting was ongoing for at least three to four minutes, on the 31st floor one floor below, while the shooting was going on and people were being killed, you had two LVMPD, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department police officers and three armed Mandalay Bay assistant security managers on that floor who retreated and listened to that police radio as police officers were yelling that they were getting shot at, they were trying to get into, his colleagues were trying to get into the Mandalay Bay, running through the gunfire. They listened to this for at least three or four minutes. They made no attempt to reach Stephen Paddock, to stop, distract him. They stayed on that floor until the firing stopped.

Poppa: What makes it worse, a lot of people don’t know, while the shooting was going on, you remember Jesus Campos, I will get to him in a second, he reported he got shot with a pellet or something, officers responded up there. So they were up there, according to the police reports, two Mandalay Bay armed security bike patrol officers, told the police during the interview, they heard the call that he was shot, they went up there. They said, “How long did it take you to get up there?” Like two or three minutes, no more. That means they were on the floor for well over five or six minutes, they were on that floor while Paddock was killing people, with weapons, and they failed to do anything to try to distract, stop or make entry into that room. These are security people. Along with them Jim, was the security operations manager for the Mandalay Bay Hotel, was also on that floor for several minutes.

Paris: Even you don’t have the courage to rush that door, you still could start firing through the door, you could do whatever you have to try to get this guys attention away from shooting down on those people.

Poppa: Absolutely. Remember this. That he fired through that door when he hit, Campos got hit with a fragment and he also fired down the hall a second time when Steven Shuck the Mandalay Bay maintenance guy was up there. Those people on the floor knew the shots came through the door, when they got up there, the security people. So why didn’t they say hey, he turned around for a couple of seconds and fired through his door, lets go in the alcove over here, which, you have like a two foot space to protect you, lets fire a couple of rounds and meanwhile the police should be on the way up there. But remember, the police were there! Two Metro police officers retreated on the 31st floor while people were being killed and they listened to that radio, because we heard that on the body-worn camera when it was released. They retreated, while their own officers were getting fired upon.

Paris: Unreal. I’m just shaking listening to this. I cannot comprehend it.

Paris: I’m an advocate Catherine of the government getting all this information out there. I wonder why after over a year now, it isn’t out there, do you have a theory Catherine Lombardo why the FBI is still holding information back?

Lombardo: I think Doug Poppa would be better to answer that than I would, Doug, do you have an answer for that?

Mandalay Bay Gaming Surveillance Room from LVMPD BWC

Poppa: I can only tell you what I think from being a criminal investigator. Why it’s not out already, I don’t know. If its got something to do with between them and Metro or maybe the lawsuits, I don’t know. All I know back in August like I said when that final police report came out, page after page of what they said in there, all the forensics and all that type of stuff, came from the FBI reports. They say that in the report, so why that didn’t come out in September or something, I don’t know. We haven’t heard anything from the FBI.

Poppa: …We’re trying to find the facts here. What the FBI needs to do, what the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department needs to do, and MGM Resorts International, Debra DeShong and all those people over there, if you’re listening to me and their attorneys, if you have any respect for the people who are dead and the almost 500 people who were shot, how about releasing everything you got, all your videotape, all the records. This case is never, listen to what I’m saying Jim, mark my words, this case is never going to see the light of day in a civil courtroom. Way too many mistakes. This thing was preventable. One-hundred percent preventable.

Lombardo: I can’t say enough wonderful things about Doug Poppa and all his investigating. He has benefited everyone, immensely. He’s the one that knows more than anyone, he’s the one that’s been on the ground investigating this. He will also tell you that Jesus Campos has been sequestered and hidden by the MGM.

Lombardo: Since day one, Mandalay Bay attorneys, and there’s lots of them, have all been hunkered down, in boardrooms somewhere, doing damage control, hiding, trying to save their product, their machine. They have never, ever, come forward to say sorry to the victims or apologize, or offer any assistance whatsoever to the victims, and their actions of hiding Jesus Campos is just one of those examples of how they are continuing to cause emotional harm to the victims. Listen, from the very beginning I have said my clients, the victims, they just want answers. They want answers more than anything. How did this happen? Why did this happen? Will this ever happen again on an MGM property? Right now the Route 91 Harvest festival is advertising that they’re going to come back next year, or this year now, 2019. It’s going to be on another MGM property.

Paris: Wow!

Lombardo: My clients are up in arms about it. They’re boycotting MGM, they’re offended by it. So much of this has been offensive, going back to Jesus Campos going on the Ellen Show with his co-worker the engineer. Being placed there with a cane, he didn’t need a cane, he was walking just fine. Ellen was told what to say, what to ask him, I’m sure her show has an affiliation or somehow connected to MGM, the corporation. So, it was all staged, all orchestrated, scripted and we said that, I said that as early as October of 2017. And now we’re getting confirmation of that. We knew that. So the offensive nature, the offensive actions of the MGM upper executives and lawyers, the team of lawyers, continues to this day. I don’t think it will ever change. I don’t think they’ll ever come forward and say, “Here you go, here are your answers, here’s some compensation, we’re so sorry that happened.”

Caller: I just wanted to ask maybe Catherine or Doug’s opinion about the recent announcement by the LVMPD that they were going to discontinue the weekly data dumps. There’s a lot of people who independently investigate this by their own estimation they only released about 50 to 60 percent of the body-worn camera footage, but way less than the actual documents they said they were going to release.

Lombardo: Go ahead, Doug.

32nd floor stairwell fire exit door LVMPD

Poppa: I said that at the beginning of the show. There’s a lot of stuff that hasn’t been released. So now were supposed to take it at their word, that they said the other day on that press release, that they’re going to examine and see if something hasn’t been released and they’ll release it. This has been the problem all along. A lot of that police body-worn camera footage that was released were fifteen seconds, thirty seconds, one hour, two hours, some were three hours. Those body cameras were on for hours, yet a lot of that stuffs deleted, a lot of the stuff is muted out, a lot of stuff is covered up, so you can’t see a lot of stuff. He is correct, there’s a lot of officer’s reports that we don’t have, witness statements, we don’t have and a lot of the body-worn camera footage.

Poppa: Red flags on Campos. Campos was not a hero just like Catherine said. He was a zero, he was negligent as a security officer. When he’s going to check those open doors, the alarms on the floor, he’s in the stairwell of the 32nd floor where Paddock’s room was, right next to that stairwell door, 135. He’s on the opposite end of the door in the stairwell, he tries to get in, because he’s trying to get to the hallway, he can’t get in the door. He can’t open it. Fire stairwell doors are not supposed to be locked, you have to be able to open them. He can’t get in there. He doesn’t call it in. That’s the first mistake he made when I saw that in his police report.

Now he’s on the 32nd floor, goes into the vestibule. By the way, Paddock’s camera didn’t see him because he’s walking down the hall towards the door and he doesn’t get shot at then. He’s now in the vestibule to get to the fire stairwell, it has a house phone in it. That’s when he sees the bracket.

Bracket on fire door LVMPD

[Which was drilled into the fire exit door and the door jamb with screws]. In his police report he says that he called security dispatch, and they told him, they hung up on him, they told him to call maintenance, which is a disgrace. He gets a hold of maintenance, but here’s my point, he’s on the phone, he’s talking to Shannon Alsbury, the maintenance supervisor and he hears these suspicious noises in the room, he said drilling. He tells Shannon that. He hangs up the phone, he does not investigate the suspicious noises. It’s ten o’clock at night coming from a guest room. He walks away. Now, the police asked him that in the interview and even the cop knew something was wrong, the detective, he says, “You heard suspicious noises coming from the room and you just walked away?” He says, “Yes.”

No security officer worth his stuff in Las Vegas is going to hear suspicious noises, especially at ten o’clock at night…

Paris: Yeah drilling, at ten o’clock at night, you’re hearing drilling at ten o’clock at night and you’re not going to check into that?

Lombardo: And the fire exit door was bracketed shut.

To listen to the entire two-hour unedited show click on the attached link to the Jim Paris Live radio show.

When Catherine Lombardo was discussing the affiliation with the Ellen DeGeneres Show and MGM Resorts International we have attached some links to stories that confirm what Lombardo said on the show.

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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