Seeking to counter mounting criticism, the MGM Mandalay Bay has issued a statement claiming that their staff interacted with suspected Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock at least ten times in the days prior to the deadly mass shooting, including two times on the day of the shooting itself. According to the hotel, none of the interactions with Paddock raised any red flags or gave them reason to believe that he may have been planning his attack.
What's the deal?
The hotel has come under increasing criticism since the October 1st shooting for failing to detect that Paddock had an extensive collection of firearms and ammunition in his room that allowed him to carry out a shooting which left 58 people dead and 546 injured. Paddock fired over 1,100 during the course of his rampage, and authorities found 23 firearms, including numerous rifles, and extensive quantities of ammunition and high capacity clips in his room after the shooting.
Many have questioned how Paddock could have moved all the guns and ammunition into his room and stored them there for several days without hotel staff noticing, and have speculated that hotel staff was perhaps too deferential to a "do not disturb" sign. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, several lawsuits that have been filed against the hotel specifically allege that the hotel was negligent in failing to detect the massive weapons stockpile Paddock had in his room.
In an email to the Review-Journal, MGM claimed:
All MGM Resorts properties follow a health and welfare check operating procedure that stipulates a welfare check be performed after two consecutive days where a do-not-disturb sign has been displayed on the door and the guest has not interacted in-person or by phone with housekeeping or other hotel staff over the same period.
MGM went on to explain that staff had had multiple contacts with Paddock and had even entered his room at least once prior to the shooting, and that nothing in those interactions caused staff concern or indicated that a welfare check of Paddock's room was necessary.
The MGM statement did not further describe the staff's interactions with Paddock or explain what they may or may not have seen when they went into his room.
Why does this matter?
In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, a number of prominent hotel chains are revisiting their "do not disturb" policies and have begun requiring hotel staff to physically enter each guest room at least once a day. In other words, this incident may contribute directly to changes in hotel stays for all Americans in the near future.
Issues related to Mandalay Bay's security and interactions with Paddock remain at the forefront of the ongoing investigation into the mass shooting, which remains largely shrouded in mystery. Paddock was checked into a complimentary room on arrival because he was a frequent gambler at the casino, and his vantage point from his 32nd-story room likely made the attack much deadlier than it otherwise would have been.
The FBI is continuing to investigate the shooting, but have released almost no details for months.
Here's what MGM told TheBlaze:
MGM Resorts is focused on supporting the health and welfare of our guests. All MGM Resorts properties follow a health and welfare check operating procedure that stipulates a welfare check be performed after two consecutive days where a Do-Not-Disturb sign has been displayed on the door and the guest has not interacted in-person or by phone with housekeeping or other hotel staff over the same period. In addition, our staff reserves the right to enter the room if it is deemed appropriate to conduct a welfare check.
Importantly, as it relates to the terrible tragedy on October 1, there were numerous interactions with Stephen Paddock every day at the resort, including a room service delivery and a call with housekeeping on October 1, all of which were normal in nature. As a result of these interactions, there was no need to conduct a welfare check. Further,Mandalay Bay staff, room service and housekeeping had contact with Paddock or entered his suite more than 10 times over the course of his stay, including the three days leading up to October 1.