Attorney who survived 1 October explains why he knows MGM is res - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Attorney who survived 1 October explains why he knows MGM is responsible

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Police tape covers the door of mass shooter Stephen Paddock's suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay (FOX5). Police tape covers the door of mass shooter Stephen Paddock's suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay (FOX5).

An attorney who was at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival during 1 October said he believes the 81-page preliminary investigative report released by Metro last week proves Mandalay Bay and MGM International should have been able to prevent the mass shooting that killed 58 people and injured hundreds more.

Brian Claypool described officers who responded that night as "heroic" and he applauded Sheriff Joe Lombardo for releasing the report. Still, Claypool said there is a lot of missing information. The facts that were revealed, he believes, hurt MGM's case.

"I felt the power of the bullets. I heard pings from some of the bullets," he described. "I'm laying there thinking I'm going to die at the hands of these assault weapons, and I couldn't believe that. I was like, 'This is not the way I ever envisioned dying, and that angers me.'"

Claypool said, he may not have realized it at the time, but the reason he was so angry is that tragedies like this aren't supposed to happen in our country or in our city, that everyone has always insisted was safe. His mind was on his 12-year-old daughter. Since the shooting, he has gone to therapy.

"We're not saying that the Mandalay Bay or MGM should have looked into a magic crystal ball and predicted that," Claypool said. "What we're saying is that if they were responsible and heeded these threats and realized that the Vegas Strip is a soft target for terror, then they should have properly trained their people, and had they done so, they could have prevented this mass shooting."

Training for potential threats

Claypool is especially critical of the way employees have been trained, based on the idea that law enforcement had raised the terrorism threat levels of Las Vegas earlier in the year. He also said the fact that security officers were unarmed is "a joke."

"Having security guards at a major casino like the Mandalay Bay unarmed is like having no security at all," he said. "They train their employees to try to catch people at gambling tables... If you had all of that with a responsible casino, this mass shooting never happens."

Windows and elevators

Casino mogul Steve Wynn has also been critical of MGM for letting the shooter use service elevators to transport dozens of suitcases up to his room on the 32nd floor. The Wynn and Encore have metal detectors and armed security.

"According to interviews, this request (to use service elevators) is not uncommon for guests of the hotel," wrote Metro officers in their report.

It's unclear whether any casinos on the Strip have a way to alert security when a window is shattered.

"The Mandalay Bay did not have alarm systems set up on their windows," Claypool argued. "That is a necessity."

What happened in the hallway?

Claypool said he also has a lot of issues and questions about the conduct of Security Officer Jesus Campos. Metro's report indicates that Campos did not immediately report that the stairwell door was barricaded. It also states that Campos initially reported he was shot "with a BB or pellet gun" in the calf.

"I have not seen any medical records of Campos being treated with a gunshot wound to his left calf. I have not seen any bullet retrieved from Campos' left calf. I'm not saying he wasn't shot," Claypool said. "Where are photographs from LVMPD that show the hallway riddled with bullets, right? There should be bullet holes all through the hallway on the 32nd floor if you believe Campos was hit in the back of the calf. We all know that Paddock used high-powered ammunition, so the way that we can get to the truth of this is let's ask LVMPD to retrieve that bullet from Campos, if it hasn't already been retrieved, and let's try to match that with the ammunition that Paddock was using, and we'll get to the bottom of this really quick."

Metro's report included just two photos of the hallway, which did not show much damage. Metro also released a photo of the shooter's door, which had approximately 30 bullet holes.

Claypool said he thinks the reason Campos' timeline keeps changing is because he is an MGM employee who may have a reason to protect his employer.

Campos has agreed to only speak with Ellen DeGeneres, whose show is sponsored by MGM.


Claypool said he does not, in any way, believe Metro failed to respond adequately to the shooting. He thinks the facts will show that MGM employees did not lead officers to the correct location fast enough.

"Las Vegas police officers (were initially) on the 31st floor. That is an unbelievable and an unimaginable blunder," he said. "I think what you're going to find out is that the Mandalay Bay security contacted the Las Vegas police department, and they gave them the wrong floor number."

Claypool added that he believes security officers should have been on the 32nd-floor hours before the shooting began, based on an alert that popped up when a different room's door was left open for an extended period of time.

"That was reported on room 32-129. That's five rooms away from Mr. Paddock's room, and I'm deeply troubled by how the Mandalay Bay neglected to handle that immediately," he said. 

Negligent discharge

Immediately after breaching the door to the shooter's second room at 11:26 pm, SWAT Officer O'Donnell negligently discharged his rifle. The bullets hit a chair, an entertainment center/ cabinet, and a wall. Paddock was dead in the first room.

Claypool said he does not blame the officer for doing so, based on the heat of the moment and the fact that the room had not been cleared yet.

Surveillance video

MGM has stated it does not record hotel room corridors, which is common in Las Vegas for the sake of guest's privacy. 

Claypool said he does not believe police have a legal obligation to release any surveillance video in this case, based on the ongoing investigation. Still, because it is a judgment call in most cases, he thinks Sheriff Lombardo should make the same exception he made in releasing the preliminary investigative report.

As the legal process continues, Claypool said attorneys should be able to subpoena the 21,560 hours of video and 251,099 images compiled so far in this case.

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