Henderson police officers involved in fatal shooting identified


The identities of one Henderson police sergeant and five officers involved in the fatal shooting of a female car theft suspect Monday night were released Thursday.

Police said the employees have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a coroner's inquest. That is standard procedure for police officers who fire their weapons while on duty.

They are Sgt. Christopher Delacanal, hired in 1996; officer Juan Castro, hired in 2007; officer James Dunn, hired in 2003; officer Kevin Grant, hired in 2006; officer Michael Schmitz, hired in 2004; and officer Jeff Wiener, hired in 2002.

A date has not been determined for a Clark County coroner's inquest to determine whether the shooting was justified, excusable or criminal.

The coroner's office identified the dead woman as 39-year-old Kelly DuPriest. Her city of residency was unknown. She died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the coroner's office.

Police said they shot DuPriest after she drove a stolen car in reverse toward the officers near the upscale community of MacDonald Highlands.

Police said 21-year-old Carlos Enrique Pedraza, who was inside the car when DuPriest was shot, was arrested in connection with the incident.

He was wounded in the shooting.

Pedraza was booked into the Henderson jail on felony charges that included robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary and murder.

The murder charge stems from a state law that makes a suspect responsible for a death if his or her partner dies in the commission of a crime.

On the night of the shooting, officers were called about 8 p.m. to MacDonald Highlands in response to reports that two suspects had stolen a car at gunpoint.

As officers pursued, the suspects drove the car to the end of MacDonald Ranch Drive, where they became stuck on a gravel road, police said.

Police negotiated with the suspects for about 45 minutes, when DuPriest put the car in reverse and drove at the officers.

"The officers were placed in a life-threatening situation and were forced to defend themselves," police said.

They said DuPriest and Pedraza had been on a crime spree in Henderson that might have included a home invasion, confrontations with security officers and the abandonment of another stolen vehicle.

 

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