A student wounded in the mass shooting has filed a lawsuit against operators of the Mandalay Bay, the festival organizers and the bump stock maker
By not responding in a timely manner to the shooting of one of their security guards, are operators of Mandalay Bay, the hotel from where Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock went on a shooting spree, liable in the massacre that left 58 people dead?
Well, this California student definitely thinks so. Paige Gasper, a 21-year-old college student from Wheatland, California, who was one of the nearly 500 injured in the October 1 shooting, has now filed a lawsuit against MGM Resorts International and its subsidiary Mandalay Corp., which own Mandalay Bay.
According to Gasper, the hotel operators failed to properly monitor Paddock’s activities during his stay at the hotel, and also responded late to the shooting of security officer Jesus Campos. Paddock fired at the security officer at least six minutes before opening fire on the crowd below, according to the revised timeline of events that led to the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Gasper has also named Live Nation Entertainment, the organizer of the Route 91 harvest country music festival, for allegedly failing to "build and mark" adequate emergency exits and train its employees on how to respond in an emergency. The psychology student's lawsuit also accused Slide Fire Solutions, the maker of bump stock devices that were used by the gunman, of negligence, design and manufacturing defects.
The student's lawyers said that before she was shot at the music festival, Gasper was on the Dean's list and working three jobs. When bullets fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay began ripping through the crowd, Gasper was shot in the right armpit, according to her complaint. The bullet went through the breast tissue, shattered a rib, lacerated her liver and then exited her body, the lawsuit says.
She was taken to the Spring Valley Hospital. She's since been released and is recovering at her home in California, her lawyers said
Gasper's legal team insist that their client's lawsuit is not about a payday. Rather, it's about improving security and protocols at hotels and other venues, the lawyers said. "If allowed, evil will find a way to hurt and destroy," Gasper's mother, Heather Selken, told KTLA. "This can no longer be allowed."
Not only should MGM have responded more promptly and appropriately to news of a guard's shooting, but hotel security should have noticed something was amiss on several occasions, Gasper's attorneys said. Instead, the lawsuit alleges, MGM's negligence enabled one of its guests "to commit a mass shooting unencumbered."
The hotel failed to monitor Paddock's actions because of which he was able to take in a horde of firearms, which included assault rifles, in 10 suitcases into his 32nd floor suite, all unnoticed, the lawsuit alleges.
It also failed to notice the perpetrator setting up surveillance outside his room, and didn't respond quickly enough after he broke the windows in his hotel room to start shooting, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also alleges that MGM, which also owns the concert venue, and Live Nation did not design, build or mark adequate emergency exits and failed to “properly train and supervise employees in an appropriate plan of action in case of an emergency.”
There was no plan in place for an emergency evacuation, and no announcer took over the sound system to provide instructions, attorney Chad Pinkerton told CNN. "People were left unknowing, figuring out on their own how to escape." The attorney added that no police departments or city officials were named in the suit because they "did the very best they could possibly do".
And while the lawsuit leaves the door open to add other manufacturers and designers of bump stocks, it specifically names Texas-based Slide Fire Solutions, which is already facing one lawsuit from a gun control group. Investigators say the Las Vegas gunman had bump stocks, which are legal, on 12 of his rifles, allowing him to fire them more like automatic weapons.