Police investigation into July 23 shooting death continues

Las Vegas police are still investigating whether SWAT officers acted appropriately in the July 23 shooting death of a Sacramento man who charged officers in his underwear, a hammer in one hand, a knife in the other.

Undersheriff Jim Dixon, at a news conference Friday afternoon, said a complete report on the death of Southaly Ketmany, 35, should be finished in a month. Ketmany was in Las Vegas visiting family and friends. He clashed with officers who were responding to a home intruder call that escalated into a standoff in the south valley.

“We will look at how long we should have waited outside,” Dixon said. “We will also interview the SWAT commander.”

Dixon said police were called to a house in the 9000 block of Crystal Rock Circle, near Las Vegas Boulevard and Pebble Road, after the owner of the house came home at 5 p.m. July 23 to discover Ketmany sitting on his couch and watching television with a knife in hand.

He called 911 and Ketmany’s ex-wife, who reported her ex-husband missing a day earlier, was summoned to the scene.

Police recorded her pleading for him to come out of the house, then played it over a bullhorn in front of the house. But Ketmany only became more combative, Dixon said. By the time SWAT officers entered the house through the rear sliding glass door, Dixon said Ketmany was holding a hammer and a knife and was acting belligerently and speaking incoherently.

He then charged police.

Dixon said officers were armed with “low lethal tools,” a 40 mm rubber round, a K-9 dog and a Taser.

But none of the tools were useful, Dixon said, and when Ketmany charged, a pair of officers, identified as Jay James and Douglas Erickson, shot him several times. James has been with the department since March 2000. Erickson has been with Las Vegas police since 1995.

After Ketmany was wounded, he “fought with the medics,” Dixon said.

Ketmany was taken to University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:58 p.m. — seven hours after the original call to police.

Police are wondering why Ketmany’ was so combative after he was shot. There have been reports that he was with friends earlier in the evening, and that he then separated from them, and that his drink may have been “spiked” with something.

“But at this point, it would all be speculation,” Dixon said, adding that police are waiting for toxicology reports.

Also, Ketmany was involved in an altercation at a Las Vegas hotel July 22, but details were not provided.

Contact reporter Tom Ragan at tragan@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512.