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Union: MGM warned Campos about interviews after Las Vegas shooting

Updated October 20, 2017 - 3:23 pm

Officials with MGM Resorts International warned Oct. 1 shooting hero Jesus Campos that he could be facing difficult interviews just hours before he was set to make five TV appearances last week, the international president of the union representing Mandalay Bay security guards said Friday.

“One of the MGM officials voiced her concern to Jesus that [Fox News’ Sean] Hannity was a very difficult interview, he would interrupt him, etc.” said David Hickey, international president of the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America. “That’s one of the reasons I asked to have a private meeting with them because I was concerned about how or if it would affect Jesus’ confidence in completing the interviews that we had already scheduled.”

When Hickey emerged from that meeting the afternoon of Oct. 12, Campos was gone.

Campos, the Mandalay Bay security guard who first encountered mass shooter Stephen Paddock and has become a critical witness in the incident, appeared Wednesday on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” But last week he was scheduled to appear on five news programs, including “The Sean Hannity Show” on Fox News. In the days leading up to the interviews, Hickey said he worked with the 25-year-old Campos to prepare him and give “him confidence to do something he had never done before.”

But just a few hours before Campos was set to begin the first of his television interviews at 6 p.m. last Thursday, Hickey said MGM officials started filling his head with fears.

“I was concerned when, four hours before these interviews are to start, that questions of him being capable to do these interviews are being thrown out,” Hickey said.

At the time, Campos was staying in a Las Vegas-area hotel suite, with a living room and an adjoining bedroom. Hickey and MGM officials met privately in the bedroom about 1 p.m. When they came out at around 2 p.m., Campos had disappeared.

“He never told me personally that he wanted to not do the interviews, Hickey said.

Since then, Campos appears to have been working directly with MGM. On Tuesday, as questions swirled about Campos’ whereabouts, MGM released a statement that said, “Jesus Campos wants to tell his story at a time and place of his choosing. He’s asked that everyone respect his request for privacy. We could not be more proud of Jesus.”

Later that day, DeGeneres announced she had landed an interview with Campos. The entertainer has ties to MGM. In September, the show taped a segment where she surprised people playing her slot machine at the MGM Grand.

Critical witness

Campos has emerged as a critical witness in the mass shooting after Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo twice revised the timeline events. Paddock shot Campos through the door of his hotel suite on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay, striking the security guard in the right thigh. Initially, Lombardo said Paddock shot Campos after he had rained bullets down on the Route 91 Harvest festival, killing 58 and injuring more than 500.

Then Lombardo reversed course and said Paddock shot Campos minutes before firing on the crowd. MGM publicly contested that account. Finally, Lombardo said Paddock shot Campos at about the time Paddock started shooting at concert attendees.

DeGeneres asked Campos no questions about the timeline during the interview.

“I don’t think that’s her forte,” Hickey said. “That’s not the purpose of her show. She’s an entertainment show. It’s not the venue that we had — we had five serious venues that he was going to speak on. And if he chose that or whoever is assisting him or speaking for him, if they chose that venue that’s on them. It’s not the venue I would have chosen for such a serious event.”

An MGM official on Friday said, “Jesus Campos wanted to tell his story at a time and place of his choosing. When it comes to media appearances, he alone made that decision.”

Hickey said he has not heard from Campos or MGM since Oct. 12, when the security guard vanished from the hotel suite.

“Obviously, we were there to assist Mr. Campos at his request,” Hickey said. “If it comes up, we’ll do it again. If not, when and if he returns to work then obviously he’ll be a member of the organization and we’ll go from there. I don’t know whether I’ll hear anything.”

Review-Journal writer Arthur Kane contributed to this report. Contact Brian Joseph at bjoseph@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5208. Follow @bjoseph1 on Twitter.

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