A Nye County sheriff's deputy died after being shot three times by a man wielding a rifle in front of a Pahrump casino on Monday.
The 27-year-old deputy, who wasn't identified by police, was just two days into patrol duty after returning from a military tour in Afghanistan. He died after undergoing emergency surgery at University Medical Center on Monday night.
The gunman, whose name and age were not released, was shot and killed by another deputy.
Officers were trying to protect a woman who had called 911. About 3:45 p.m. she tried to retrieve belongings from a home on Cajon Lane, a block away from the Terrible's Lakeside Casino & RV Park, according to Nye County Sheriff's Office Capt. Bill Becht.
The suspect, who was at the home, immediately fired a weapon at her. Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said she fled and called 911. While on the phone, she told dispatchers she was going to the casino to be safe.
The suspect followed her, DeMeo said, and the two entered the casino. The gunman walked outside just as two deputies were pulling up in a department pickup.
The suspect produced an SKS automatic rifle, DeMeo said.
"The deputies were actually exiting the vehicle, and that's when he opened up on the deputies," he said.
One deputy was hit three times. The protective vest he was wearing did not stop the rounds, DeMeo said. The other deputy was not injured.
A third deputy who pulled up behind the first two witnessed the shooting and fired four rounds at the gunman, who was struck and pronounced dead at the scene.
The woman who called police was not injured.
The injured deputy was airlifted to UMC, where he underwent emergency surgery, according to the sheriff. He was on his second day of patrol duty since returning last month from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
DeMeo said the deputy's family was with him at the hospital Monday night.
Few details were released about the gunman. DeMeo said he was a suspect in a minor credit card-related crime.
"He is not someone who has that much of a record with us," he said.
The sheriff called the incident that sparked the shooting a domestic dispute. He said such calls are dangerous.
"In 36 years in law enforcement, those are one of the most dangerous calls you get because there's a lot of emotions tied up in that," DeMeo said. "We just watch ourselves and do the best we can."
The gunbattle was the second for Nye County sheriff's deputies at the casino since 2008, when a deputy was ambushed by an Iraq war veteran in the casino's RV park.
Deputy Eric Murphy was shot twice and recovered. Joseph Patrick Lamoureux's lawyers intend to argue that the 47-year-old Army Reserve sergeant's shooting spree was triggered by post-traumatic stress disorder.
A sheriff's report stated Lamoureux was on at least 14 different drugs, including anti-anxiety pills, steroids and anti-depressants that Veterans Affairs doctors had prescribed for combat stress and respiratory problems.
Lamoureux has pleaded not guilty to 15 charges, including attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon upon an officer and discharging a firearm into a structure or vehicle.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at email@example.com or 702-383-0440.