A 27-year-old Tehachapi woman who was critically wounded in a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival and concert in Las Vegas Oct. 1 has filed a lawsuit in Nevada district court against MGM Resorts International, event promoter Live Nation Entertainment and an extensive list of other defendants.
Rachel Sheppard, according to the lawsuit filed Friday by the Henderson, Nev.-based Nettles Law Firm, was shot three times in the bloody attack that left 58 concert-goers dead and more than 500 wounded.
Sheppard remains hospitalized, but plans are to transport her via ambulance to a hospital in Bakersfield.
The civil complaint alleges that accused shooter Stephen Paddock, as an MGM VIP guest of the Mandalay Bay Resort, used "special MGM-conveyed privileges (including the) use of a service elevator not accessible to the public, to smuggle his arsenal of weapons to the 32nd floor with the help of MGM employees.”
The lawsuit further alleges that Paddock then proceeded to “set up a shooting gallery over 3-6 days, including installing his own surveillance cameras, before breaking a window and starting his carnage."
Also named as defendants are Mandalay Corp., a subsidiary of MGM; the estate of accused gunman Paddock, who is believed to have died by his own hand; and Texas-based Slide Fire Solutions, the developer and distributors of a bump stock device allegedly used by Paddock on his military-style rifle to increase the number of victims by using the recoil of his rifle to fire multiple shots in rapid succession, mimicking automatic fire.
The negligence of defendants, the lawsuit states, “contributed to circumstances which enabled Paddock to commit a mass shooting unencumbered.” In addition, the design and management of the concert venue “increased the carnage wrought by Paddock due to insufficient exits at the venue.”
According to the lawsuit’s general allegations, Paddock checked into Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Sept. 25, six days before the shooting rampage, and concealed the weapons in his room by using a “Do not disturb” sign on his door.
At 9:59 p.m., Paddock wounded a hotel security guard. Six minutes later, according to a police timeline, he began raining bullets down upon the crowd below.
Sheppard was shot in the upper chest, the torso and the abdomen.
A Good Samaritan picked her up and forced himself into an already occupied ambulance, where he held Sheppard and applied a compress to her wounds.
As a result of her wounds, Sheppard nearly “bled out” three times. She required 40 units of blood and four surgeries.
Brian Nettles, an attorney for Sheppard, said a primary motivation for the lawsuit is to prevent similar mass shootings from happening in the future.
“As we move forward as individuals, and as a nation, it is essential that we be united in our quest for the truth in the hope that we might prevent future atrocities,” Nettles said in an email. “It was only after the deadly hotel fires on the Las Vegas Strip in the 1980s that fire codes around the world were strengthened to ensure safety in high rise buildings. Las Vegas’s actions following that devastating fire made this city the model the world over for high rise fire safety.
“Once again we are on the world stage because of horrible tragedy,” he said, “and again our actions in the coming months and years will distinguish Las Vegas as a city that leads the globe in implementing safety measures to protect the public.”