Bill Pierce – Monday, December 11, 2017
This past week I had the honor and privilege of traveling to the great city of Las Vegas with two members of the America First Media Group. Generally when one visits Las Vegas it is under the premise of having an enjoyable, adventurous vacation with occasional intermittent good-natured debauchery. Our reason for being in Vegas was of course for a much different reason. The events that occurred at the Route 91 Music Festival on October 1st, 2017 tended to make our excursion a surreal experience punctuated by the somber reminders that life can change in an instant.
HARRY THE CAB DRIVER
Upon arriving in Vegas, our first order of business was to hail a cab. From a previous visit we determined that the cab drivers are a plethora of information about anything that occurs in Vegas. Our wonderfully animated Bulgarian cab driver named “Harry” who reminded me of an older version of “Doc” from the movie Back To The Future, had been in Vegas for 40 years. Harry had worked the night of the shooting. Harry had been at the Luxor at the time and could clearly hear the shots being fired. He uttered a “bip-bip-bip” sound as he recalled the events of the evening.
Harry adamantly believes there was only one weapon being fired at a time but believes Paddock had “some” kind of assistance with planning and execution of his rampage. When asked about the theory of shooters at other casinos, Harry responded with a colorful expletive followed by a hearty “NO”!…(Harry often used colorful expletives during our conversation). Harry stated people running in panic and the fact that injured victims made it to nearby casinos are what sparked the hysteria of reported shootings at these other casinos.
Nearing the completion of our cab ride, Harry stated, “this town was MUCH safer when the actual MOB ran things”! Harry was quite the character.
One of my first stops was an establishment called “Bugsy’s Bar in the Flamingo. I was able to speak with the bar manager of the establishment who said they were, in fact, on lock-down until early the following morning. As far as shooters at other casinos are concerned, the bar manager reiterated what our cab driver Harry stated―there were no additional shootings at other casinos, it was simply “mass-hysteria brought on by panic”.
A helicopter tour over the strip at night sounds fun unless of course you are even remotely concerned about the slight possibility of uncovering some kind of “nefarious plot”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the desert, but I have no desire to see the sand at 150 mph after my door “accidentally” opens 2000 feet in the air. I jest of course….
After an exhilarating ride over the lights, I was able to speak at length with the pilot about the events of that night at the Mandalay. The pilot at Sundance Tours was very professional and quite willing to speak with me. He stated however, he was not working on the evening of the shooting.
The pilot stated he did not believe there would be any means to actually land an average sized helicopter on the roof of the Mandalay or the Delano as there would not be enough room and there are no designated “landing pads” on either roof. However, there is, in fact, a small square, flat-topped structure located where all the wings of the hotel come together and you could feasibly lightly touch-down with a small helicopter such as an R-22 and either pick-up, or drop-off passengers. The pilot did not believe you could actually “park” a helicopter in this location, as the weight of the helicopter would probably collapse the roof of this small square structure.
I inquired if the pilot was aware of the computer / phone app that was used to obtain helicopter flight information on the night of October 1st. The pilot was not at all familiar with this app, and upon showing him, he stated, “it does look a little glitchy”.
As of this writing, I am continuing attempts to follow-up with the pilot to garner additional information.
People in Las Vegas are resilient and determined. Our waitress at Hooters, “Erica” exemplifies these qualities. Erica was warm, welcoming and completely open to talking with us. Over the course of our conversation, Erica recalled that both the general public and even some of the employees simply ran from the casinos to try and get away as nobody knew precisely what was occurring at the time. One of Erica’s friends later recounted how she recalled running past a couple, one of whom was covered in blood.
Erica stated the people who remained at the restaurant due to the lock-down hadn’t slept all night. The restaurant, still scheduled to be open the following afternoon, was obviously unable to do its regular “prep work”. “It was such an odd, surreal experience”,…Erica’s statement would be reiterated many times over as we spoke to individuals throughout the Las Vegas strip.
The concept of shootings occurring at multiple casinos has garnered much attention and the Bellagio seems to be in the forefront of this topic. The Bellagio, much like the surrounding casinos, is a massive, imposing structure. Once entered, it can be a challenge to ever see the light of day again. It is much akin to being in the Hotel California, (once you enter, you can never leave).
I found the wait-staff to be quite friendly, genuine, and forthcoming with information. They were very relaxed and were quite willing to talk about the night in question. Now, I am not one to brag and I don’t intend to come off in such a manner. However, this is definitely not my “first rodeo”. I have been in this business for 24 years, conducted numerous interviews and have essentially, have become a “professional people-watcher”. I know what to look for in regards to someone being deceptive or nervous. By no means am I perfect, but my bullshit meter is sound!
After spending an hour or so speaking with multiple wait-staff and bartenders who were working on the night in question, and by utilizing a bit of unemotional, logical critical-thinking, it is my opinion at this time that there was most likely NOT a shooting at the Bellagio on the night of October 1st.
Ok, time for the disclaimer! Could these individuals I spoke with simply have missed seeing another random shooting incident at this incredibly massive structure? I do believe this is completely feasible. However, the sheer volume of people I spoke with is indicative of the fact these are simply rumors compounded by fear, panic and chaos. I am by NO means stating the people claiming there were shootings at the Bellagio are lying or that they are somehow “ignorant”, only JUSTIFIABLY confused.
During our two trips to Vegas, I have spoken to multiple individuals at other nearby casinos and have always obtained the SAME result. The vast consensus is there were no additional shooters at these casinos. Many of the casino’s I visited are not owned or controlled by MGM Grand, thus, the employees would have absolutely no reason to test my “bullshit meter”.
Mandalay Bay is obviously ground-zero for the night of October 1st. It’s a somewhat surreal experience walking through the casino. It’s obvious that business is slightly down, but this could also simply be due to the time of the year.
Our first visit to the Mandalay ended rather abruptly when we engaged a security guard in what we thought was a friendly conversation about the night of October 1st. Asking the security guard if he was “working the night of the shooting” was met with, “we cant talk about that”! I assumed that would be the end of it and we simply would have been allowed to walk around and gamble a bit. NOPE!
Minutes later, the guard returned with four or five additional security personnel and stated, “we understand you were asking about the night of the shooting”.
We replied, “yes, we were just wondering if you all were here on that night”. The guard reiterated that they were not allowed to talk about it to the public and we were asked to leave the premises. How odd is it to be asked to leave for asking a very simple question every human being walking through the Mandalay has pondered in the last two months? It is human nature to be asking these questions. Do they toss-out every person who has ever inquired about this issue?
Apparently, an entity as vast and powerful as Mandalay/MGM Grand, who has the potential to actually help instead of being complicit with the lack of transparency, doesn’t believe that shooting Americans like “fish in a barrel”, is reason enough to come clean. Hmmmm, perhaps I know why the casino seemed a bit empty after all!
The Tropicana is one of the closest casinos, directly north of the concert venue, and is where a vast quantity of people ran to during the shooting. We spoke with multiple bartenders at a small bar called, “Chilli’m” which is located in immediate proximity to the main casino floor and is in direct view of the front doors of the complex.
We were informed how terrified and distraught people began flocking into the casino from the surrounding area, many of them bloodied and injured. Hiding behind the bar, and even crawling into a large beer-cooler, people were understandably panicked. The casino obviously went on lock-down preventing these people from leaving. Some people were given available rooms for the night, while others, who were either injured or did not desire a room, were given blankets.
The video of the individual being escorted to the front of the Tropicana by police has sparked much controversy and confusion. Many people still believed this individual to be the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman so we inquired with bartenders, dealers, hospitality management and security personnel. Nobody we spoke with seemed to recognize this individual but all were certain it was NOT Crown Prince Salman.
Regardless, the loose escort by the police personnel that evening are definitely not indicative of a SWAT detail that would be assigned to royalty or to a dignitary.
In recent weeks, the topic of this individual in the Tropicana video has again surfaced with conflicting reports that he is either “head of security” or a “high-roller”. The confusion was enhanced by the conflicting names given for this individual. The initial name given for this person was “Jason Buff”. We were informed that nobody by that name works at the Tropicana but, someone by the name of “Jason Buffington” is in fact employed there.
A recent in-depth follow-up has determined that Mr. Jason Buffington does, in fact, work at the Tropicana in the capacity of security. Mr. Buffington is not “head of security” but he does appear to be the night manager. Why we were initially told by multiple employees that they didn’t recognize this individual in the video as Mr. Buffington is anybody’s guess. Either way, it is the conclusion of America First Media Group, after speaking with several employees, (security supervisor, waitresses, dealers, Hospitality Manager etc.) at the Tropicana and showing them the video, our sound opinion is the man being escorted is not Prince Salman.
In reference to this topic, most anything else after this fact is fairly moot as it does nothing to help get closer to the truth of “who, how and why”?
MANDALAY BAY-PART TWO
Our return visit to the Mandalay was much more relaxed and enjoyable. Sitting at the large bar that occupies the center of the entire complex we engaged in dialog with a friendly waitress who was willing to talk our ears off about the night in question.
First let me begin by relaying the fact that our waitress doesn’t buy most of the official narrative of what the authorities claim occurred on that night. Our waitress stated implicitly that all of the employees had been told not to talk about the incident to the media by upper management, she stated “we have a gag-order”. When asked if she thought Paddock did it alone she stated, “no, I don’t…I think there is a big cover-up going on,…I don’t think we will ever know,…nothing is matching up to what they are saying”.
Apparently, per our waitress, SWAT was still clearing lower-level employee break rooms and storage rooms as late as 5:00 AM, even though Paddock was dead long before then. During the incident, apparently several individuals actually walked up to the bar and demanded a drink. Our waitress replied to them with, “get your own drinks, I’m leaving the bar!”
Our waitress did not know Jesus Campos personally but she did verify for us he has returned to work. She stated Mr. Campos regularly gets “ribbed” by the other security personnel and they are calling him, “Mr. Hollywood” now. Our waitress stated she does not know all the personnel who work in the casino and some guards have specific areas they are assigned to. Being as how some of these casinos are basically massive labyrinths, it is totally feasible that employees often have never even met.
This short article should by no means be construed to being an all inclusive report regarding our efforts and activities. Many additional conversations and interviews took place while we were in Vegas. Moving around the city, visiting casinos and setting up interviews takes more time than most people realize. In general, most people we have talked to in Vegas don’t believe the official narrative or that Paddock acted alone.
We were informed by more than one local individual that the phrase, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, is more than just a slogan. This is becoming painfully apparent by the lack of transparency from both the authorities and MGM Grand.