Travis Doering was not himself in the days before his death, often talking to imaginary people and acting strangely to his roommates. And he kept getting worse.
But after the 40-year-old began walking around his Las Vegas home with a loaded assault rifle early Tuesday morning, his roommates knew to leave and call Las Vegas police.
When Doering later pointed the rifle at officers, SWAT officer John Jessie Wiggins, 41, shot him in the head.
Almost a week later, police are still unsure what prompted Doering’s sudden downward spiral.
Metro Undersheriff Jim Dixon said Doering’s roommates told police the bizarre behavior had started a few weeks earlier.
“They became more and more concerned over the last two or three days about his behavior,” Dixon said Monday at a press conference. “And he had not slept, according to his roommates, for approximately four days.”
A relative from Minnesota, where Doering was raised, told the Review-Journal that he had previously abused drugs. Dixon said Doering’s roommates also mentioned drug use, but investigators were waiting for toxicology results.
The shooting happened after a lengthy standoff with police outside Doering’s house at 5689 Maceta Ave., near Twain Avenue and Lindell Road. Doering spoke on the phone with an officer with critical incident training for about 90 minutes, but wouldn’t put down the rifle or surrender to officers.
Doering, who had no local criminal history aside from a few traffic warrants, hung up several times and also occasionally came outside while armed with the gun, a Norinco SKS assault rifle, Dixon said.
As SWAT officers were taking their positions, Doering came outside again.
Dixon said Doering paced the driveway and placed his rifle on the ground several times. But then he’d quickly retrieve it, Dixon said.
“At one point, Doering picked up the rifle, placed a magazine inside the weapon and chambered a round of ammunition,” he said. Doering then leaned against a car and took a “shooting position,” Dixon said.
When Doering pointed the rifle in the direction of two patrol officers, Wiggins fired one time. Doering died at the scene about 5:30 a.m.
In addition to the SKS, police later found a MAC-10 semi-automatic pistol in the home. Dixon said police were unsure if the guns belonged to Doering.
This was the sixth Metro-involved shooting this year and the third fatal shooting. In each case the person shot was armed with a weapon, Dixon said.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @blasky on Twitter.