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Documentary questions Las Vegas police response to Route 91 shooting

Updated July 2, 2020 - 1:57 pm

For his first film, 2017’s “What Happened in Vegas,” director Ramsey Denison focused on claims of abuse and corruption within the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

For his second, “Money Machine,” he presents a variety of conspiracy theories and alleged inconsistencies surrounding the police response to the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting.

“I have a lot of friends in Vegas. I like the city,” the Los Angeles-based filmmaker said. “But I feel like some things needed to be exposed.”

Press materials for the movie, available to stream Friday at theatricalathome.com, say it “for the first time offers answers to what drove mild-mannered millionaire gambler Stephen Paddock to open fire on a crowd of 22,000 people.”

Those answers, though, stem from a theory suggested more than two years ago by his brother Eric Paddock. An abbreviated version of that idea is posed by attorney Stephen Stubbs, Eric’s onetime representative, near the end of “What Happened in Vegas.”

“You get the long story in this film. … This is the first time it’s ever really been, like, where you get the thorough explanation: A to the B to the C to the D that leads to the E, etc., etc.,” Denison explained.

Eric Paddock reiterates in “Money Machine” that he believes his high-rolling brother was upset because Mandalay Bay and other casinos were cutting back perks they had been providing him during his gambling jaunts.

The younger Paddock told the Review-Journal that he agreed to do an interview for the film about a year ago as a favor to one of its participants and basically elaborated on that theory.

“This is now behind me,” he said. “I’m trying to move on with my life, and I’ve got today to worry about.”

“Money Machine” spends a good bit of its time letting participants talk up the possibility that there were multiple gunmen before others ultimately debunk that. One interviewee seemingly casts suspicion on the location of the Las Vegas Community Healing Garden.

“They released a selective release of information to tailor their narrative,” Denison said of Metro officials. “They didn’t give people the whole story.”

No active LVMPD members were interviewed for the film, nor were they approached, he said.

“People say, ‘What about their side of the story?’ Well, their side of the story is all over the film. It’s in the press conferences. … You do get both sides. It’s just that I knew that these people were not going to sit down in a room with me. It just wasn’t going to happen.”

Denison admitted he probably should have reached out to them, just so he could say that he tried.

When asked by the Review-Journal for a response, Carla Alston, director of Metro’s Office of Public Information, said she couldn’t comment on the film’s content or accuracy without having seen it.

Alston noted, however, that the LVMPD investigation included more than 20,000 hours of video and over 250,000 images taken from numerous locations.

“It is shameful,” she said, “two years after 1 October for anyone to use this tragedy to perpetuate falsehoods for profit or to garner undeserved notoriety.”

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter. Contact Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4564. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.

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