Man shot and killed by police identified


A man shot and killed by a Las Vegas police officer while running away was identified Wednesday.

Bernard Pate, 37, of Las Vegas died from a gunshot wound in his upper back, according to the Clark County coroner's office.

A Metropolitan Police Department release said officers with the gang crimes unit saw a man "acting suspiciously" about 11 p.m. Monday in a courtyard at 4450 Karen Ave., near Sahara Avenue and Lamb Boulevard.

Police said the man ran when officers approached him.

During a short foot pursuit, police said, "shots were fired," and the man was killed. A gun "believed to be the suspect's" was found by the body, police said.

Seven officers were involved in the incident. Only one officer fired.

Police did not say whether Pate pointed a gun at officers before he was shot. Police did not think Pate fired his gun, but the investigation was ongoing.

One officer was placed on routine paid administrative leave. His name will be released in 48 hours.

According to police, Pate was a sex offender with an extensive criminal history, including attempted robbery and attempted burglary.

In 2007, Pate was arrested on a total of 14 sexual abuse charges involving children in two separate instances.

He was arrested on four counts of open and gross lewdness and four counts of unlawful contact with a child on July 26, 2007. On Dec. 23, he was arrested on two counts of lewdness with a minor, two counts of open and gross lewdness, one count of molestation of a minor and one count of violating probation.

In addition to the sex crimes, he has been arrested twice for domestic battery and once for petty larceny. Pate's last arrest was on March 18, when he was arrested for failing to register in Nevada as an ex-felon.

The shooting was similar to one earlier this month. On Nov. 9, gang crimes officer Ricardo Rodriguez, 30, shot at a man running from police near Edmond Street and Flamingo Road.

Rodriguez fired after seeing "some sort of movement," police said. They said the man, who was not hit, was carrying drugs but did not have a weapon.

On Wednesday, police held a news conference where gang crimes Lt. Chris Petko spoke about his unit after the recent shootings involving foot pursuits and gang officers.

Petko said if police officers have reasonable suspicion that a person may be involved in criminal activity, or about to commit a crime, they have the right to approach them. If the suspect runs, officers will chase.

"If they don't do that, they'd be neglecting the community," he said.

There are many factors an officer can consider when determining what is reasonable suspicion or probable cause, including the type of area and what the officer observes the suspect doing, Petko said.

It's unclear why officers approached Pate or the suspects in the Nov. 9 shooting. Police would not directly speak about either incident .

Las Vegas police have a written advisory for officers that allows them to pursue suspects the officer thinks is linked to criminal activity. One of the concerns officers consider is the potential for violence toward officers or the public.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

 

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