SSU student injured in Vegas shooting sues hotel

Six minutes. An amount of time that allowed gunman Stephen Paddock to shoot Jesus Campos, a Mandalay Bay security guard, and proceed to open fire into a crowd of 22,000 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, killing 58 and injuring over 500 more. 

One of the many members of the crowd injured by Paddock’s gunfire, Sonoma State senior Paige Gasper, is filing a lawsuit against MGM Resorts, the owners of Mandalay Bay. The lawsuit cites hotel security’s inability to react in a timely manner after Campos was shot, who was on the 32nd floor to check on an alert from another guest, questioning what happened during those six minutes prior to Paddock’s mass of gunfire from his hotel room.

For Gasper’s attorneys, the timeline of events that lead to the rampage is key. According to Muhammad S. Aziz, one of Gasper’s attorneys, Campos’ reasoning for approaching Paddock’s room in the first place and Mandalay Bay’s reasoning for not calling 911 until after the shooting spree started are questions that are important to the case.

“The whole chain of command seemed to have broken down here,” said Aziz during an Oct. 10 press conference. “For six minutes nothing happened, and then this criminal started shooting at these innocent people.”

Also being filed against in the suit is concert organizer Live Nation, who is accused of not providing adequate exits for concertgoers. Seeking $15,000 to cover Gasper’s injuries, it is reported that the lawsuit is the first to name MGM and Live Nation as defendants.

In the case of Live Nation and Mandalay Bay, the lawsuit claims both “breached their duty of reasonable care” and “should have known that it was reasonably foreseeable that a breach of their duties to keep their Las Vegas Village concert venue reasonably safe… might result in catastrophic injury to concertgoers.” Gasper’s attorneys hope the suit can alter security procedures for both companies. 

“It is our goal, and I know a motivating factor for Paige and her family, that this case will result in action and change in regard to safety procedures and protocols for hotels, concert venues and event promoters,” said another of Gasper’s attorneys Michelle Simpson Tuegel.

Also named in the suit is bump stock manufacturer Slide Fire, a component believed to make Paddock’s rifle fire faster than normal. The lawsuit claims the devices made the guns “unreasonably dangerous in that the components would allow individuals to engage in rapid fire, similar to fully automatic weapons.” 

In addition, Slide Fire is accused of failing to “provide adequate instructions regarding the operation of the bump stock devices.”

Paddock, a 64-year-old retired accountant and real estate investor, who police say killed himself upon their arrival the night of the shooting, was found to have 23 guns in his 32nd floor hotel room and over 19 more at his home in Mesquite, Nevada. 

According to the lawsuit, a bullet believed to be from the weapon of Paddock struck Gasper under her right arm and “traversed right breast tissue, shattered ribs and lacerated her liver before exiting out her right side.” 

Tuegel, who knew the Gasper family before the lawsuit, hopes problems with security for both Live Nation and Mandalay Bay can be brought to light. In regards to overall security issues involving both company’s, Tuegel expects to uncover more information involving inadequate training and other security issues through the “discovery process.”