Las Vegas police on Friday released new information about two officer-involved shootings that occurred earlier this month and emphasized their commitment to preventing the use of deadly force whenever possible.
In both of this month’s shootings the men who were shot survived, and in every instance this year the suspects were armed, Metro Undersheriff Jim Dixon said at the press conference.
The first shooting occurred about 2 p.m. Monday when police responded to domestic violence calls at a house in the 7600 block of Calico Fields Street, near Farm and Fort Apache roads.
Officers noticed a man standing by a vehicle nearby that seemed to match the description of the man they were seeking, police said. He was wearing a hat, sunglasses and a mask. Police said he prepared for a confrontation with officers by donning a thick jumpsuit, meant to protect him from stun guns, and positioning a kitchen cutting board over his torso as a makeshift bullet-proof vest.
The man, later identified as 31-year-old Kyle Kuhn, advanced toward the officers with the knife raised over his head, and a Metro sergeant shot him. The bullet went through the cutting board and struck him in the torso.
On Aug. 3, the northwest valley was buzzing with activity as Metro and SWAT investigated three crime scenes connected to two shootings, one of which involved an officer.
Shots were initially reported just before 10 a.m. in the 4500 block of Cleopatra Avenue, in an apartment complex near Cheyenne Avenue and Nellis Boulevard. One person had been shot and had nonlife-threatening injuries in what police believe was a gang-related incident.
Soon after, officers began pursuing a red Ford Mustang that fled east until officers used a maneuver to force the vehicle to crash. Two men, identified as DeAnthony Brown, 24, and Kevin Lay Jr., 23, fled the vehicle.
Brown took out a weapon and was shot in the leg by a Metro sergeant.
Lay ran into a house in the 3800 block of Clear Lake Court and eventually turned himself in to Metro “a short time later,” police said. The family in the house escaped unharmed.
Brown served time for two gun-related felonies in 2009, records show.
The two men face charges including two counts each of attempted murder, battery with a deadly weapon and running away from police. Police said both men are known gang members.
Dixon said escalating use of force by police has come under nationwide scrutiny, but Las Vegas police have been active in training officers using real-life situations and emphasizing split-second decision making.
“We feel that that program has been the number one thing that has reduced the shootings,” Dixon said. “In that program, we emphasize deescalation. If we can walk away, if we can back up, if we can talk rather than fight, that’s what we want them to do.”
“We want to be held accountable for our actions,” he said.
Contact Wesley Juhl at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @WesJuhl.