Under a new policy intended to foster greater transparency in officer-involved shootings, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on Friday gave more details behind a June 4 incident in which a 49-year-old man was shot at twice after police say he pointed a black cellphone at a responding officer.
At an afternoon press conference, Metro Undersheriff Jim Dixon elaborated on the incident involving Thomas Lang, who was alleged to have thrown softball-size rocks at an officer in east Las Vegas just moments before another officer fired at Lang, missing him twice.
Lang has since been charged by the Clark County district attorney’s office with one count of assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon and another count of assault on a police officer, a gross misdemeanor, Dixon said.
Lang’s mother called 911 to notify police that her son was suicidal and was at an apartment complex at 3040 E. Charleston Blvd., near Mojave Road, according to Dixon.
When Sgt. Mike Welsh arrived at the apartment complex’s parking lot, he got out of his squad car, drew his “service weapon,” then asked Lang to “show his hands,” Dixon said. It was then police say Lang pulled a dark cellphone from his pocket.
Officer Daniel Perry, who responded to the scene as back up, saw the dark object, mistook it for a gun, then shot at Lang, missing him twice, Dixon said.
“He was at a side angle,” Dixon said, although he could not say how far Perry stood from Lang when he shot at him.
Perry has since been put on a paid administrative leave while police continue its internal investigation into the incident, Dixon said.
Contact reporter Tom Ragan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5512.