Las Vegas Casino Security Follows Terrorism Trends to Protect Properties: Experts Reveal
Posted on: June 11, 2020, 04:36h.
Last updated on: June 11, 2020, 05:04h.
Casino security professionals in Las Vegas likely are watching the recent arrests of three suspected members of the Boogaloo movement and activities of similar domestic extremists, security and gaming experts said this week.
Stephen “Kiwi” T. Parshall, 35, Andrew Lynam, 23, and William L. Loomis, 40, each of Las Vegas, were arrested on May 30 and charged with a federal count of conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive and a count of possession of unregistered firearms – that is, a destructive device.
The trio allegedly planned to cause violence at Las Vegas Black Lives Matter-organized protests and other demonstrations. For instance, they were plotting to allegedly toss a Molotov cocktail at police, a federal complaint said.
They were also suspected of planning to damage federal buildings in Nevada. They are now in a federal detention center in Pahrump, Nevada awaiting trials.
Found at their homes were gasoline, aerosol cans, rags, weapons, booby traps, and fireworks, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. They also had notes about military tactics, and each of the three have military backgrounds, multiple reports claim.
When reached for comment, Tommy J. Burns, a Nevada-based casino security consultant, confirmed to Casino.org, casinos will follow this kind of information.
Yes, they do and [they] have direct contact with [the] Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center (SNCTC),” Burns said. “The SNCTC puts out alerts and has meetings with security chiefs. SNCTC also has a position funded by [the] Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to deal directly with hotel security chiefs.”
Burns was the privacy officer at the SNCTC after stints as security director at Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and The Flamingo Las Vegas, as well as a security director with Station Casinos’ Fiesta Henderson and Green Valley Ranch Resort. Earlier, he was police chief in Henderson, Nevada.
Also, Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, told Casino.org that “Most casino security departments have a close working relationship with the federal law enforcement agencies, the police departments, and the enforcement division of the State Gaming Control Board to stay informed of and best protect their patrons and staff from any external threats. These obviously include any terrorist organizations that may target US businesses.”
The Rev. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College who closely follows gambling trends, added that “casinos are extremely concerned with their reputations (as) a place that provides total entertainment.
Obviously, any threat of violence is something that a casino operator would want to avoid at all costs,” McGowan told Casino.org. “Hence, they would be very interested in any information that law enforcement has about possible violence.”
In fact, McGowan points out that if a casino operator “ignored a warning that law enforcement gave them and violence did break out, that casino would be in great danger of losing its license.”
He contended that MGM Resorts International saw a loss of reputation after critics charged the company should have been aware of the 2017 gunman’s activities at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock was staying at the resort casino before opening fire on a crowd attending a country music concert. The Oct. 2017 barrage of gunfire killed 58 people and injured more than 800. His motive was never clear.
Three Boogaloo Suspects Remain in Federal Custody
This week, in court appearances through video, Las Vegas US Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe ruled that both Parshall and Loomis were too dangerous to be released from custody. Lynam has yet to appear in federal court.
But defense lawyers Robert Draskovich and Monti Jordana Levy, who represent Parshall and Loomis, respectively, countered the defendants are not violent.
If convicted, they could face up to 30 years in prison on the federal charges. They also may be indicted on state charges, including a count of assisting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit an act of terrorism, one count of providing material support for use in the commission of an act of terrorism, one count of conspiracy to damage or destroy a building by means of explosives, and one count of possession of a component of an explosive or incendiary device with intent to manufacture an explosive incendiary device, local television station KTNV reported.
The Boogaloo movement believes in a civil war and collapse of the society.
Other recent acts of violence or threats of violence in Las Vegas protests often were not associated with such extremist groups.
Police Officer Remains in Critical Condition
Metro Police Officer Shay Mikalonis was shot June 1 at the conclusion of a Black Lives Matter-organized protest near Circus Circus Hotel and Casino. Edgar Samaniego, 20, faces attempted murder and other charges.
Mikalonis had surgery on his jaw and doctors earlier removed a bullet from his body. Mikalonis remains in critical condition at University Medical Center.
While Mikalonis still requires a ventilator, he has movement in his eyes. He is also awake, police have said.
A fundraiser for Mikalonis and his family was held Thursday in Las Vegas. “Shay Day” was organized by the Injured Officers Police Fund.
Local politicians and others have scheduled a Blue Lives Matter March on Saturday to show support for Mikalonis and other police officers. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is not part of the event.
The same night that Mikalonis was shot, Las Vegas officers fatally shot a heavily armed protester who was outside of the Las Vegas federal courthouse. Jorge Gomez, 25, possibly was aiming a gun at officers before police shot him 19 times. Protesters question the circumstances around his shooting.
The Review-Journal reported that Gomez was wearing full body armor, a ballistic vest, and had three guns during the confrontation.
Protests over the death of George Floyd and related issues of police reform also led to dozens of injured Las Vegas police officers in recent weeks.