A central valley traffic stop took a violent turn Friday, leaving a rookie Las Vegas police officer with a minor gunshot wound and another man dead.
It happened about 9:45 a.m. near the intersection of Sahara Avenue and Lindell Road when an officer triedto pull over a gold-colored SUV, police said.
The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle didn’t immediately stop, police said, but when he did he got out of the vehicle and started yelling, telling the officer to shoot and kill him.
Next, Metro Capt. Matt McCarthy said, the man was ordered back into the SUV. He got back in the vehicle and started talking to the officer about his “prior cases.”
The man then said he was going to kill himself and pulled a handgun from the glove compartment on the passenger side of the vehicle, McCarthy said. The officer and the man started fighting over the weapon, and at some point the cop ended up inside the SUV, too.
He requested backup before the man fired a single round, McCarthy said. The shot grazed the neck of an approaching backup officer.
Another officer who responded to the call for backup shot through the passenger-side window, striking the man several times.
The SUV driver, who will be identified by the Clark County coroner’s office, died on the roadside, McCarthy said.
It wasn’t clear what initiated the traffic stop.
McCarthy called it a “minor traffic violation.”
Metro Sgt. John Sheahan said it was a “typical vehicle stop” but didn’t elaborate. He initially said the traffic stop was conducted by two officers in a single Metro vehicle. McCarthy updated details of the confrontation later in the day.
But Sheahan praised the handling of the situation.
After the shooting, Sheahan said, one of the officers put his wounded colleague into a squad car and drove to University Medical Center rather than wait for an ambulance.
“It was very quick thinking on the other officer’s part to get his partner to the hospital,” Sheahan said.
The officer was released from UMC on Friday afternoon.
Metro will identify the officers involved within 72 hours, per department policy.
The officer who was shot had only been on patrol since March, when he graduated from the academy, police said.
A man who got caught among police vehicles heading to investigate also applauded Metro’s response.
L.J. Harness said he was driving east on Sahara when police cars and motorcycles started “passing him left and right.”
As he approached Lindell, Harness said, he saw several cops with their rifles trained on a Jeep Cherokee.
He said the officers were yelling at a man whose feet were dangling out the driver-side door. But the man wasn’t responding.
“It looked like he was laying across the console,” Harness said.
“At that point you couldn’t tell if he was alive or dead.”
At the same time, Harness said, an officer was lying on the ground. His partner was tending to him.
“I feel so proud to see the way Metro handled this,” Harness said.
Sahara was closed for almost six hours between Lindell and Westwind roads while police investigated. About 20 patrol cars were visible near Sahara at Lindell.
This is the fourth officer-involved shooting in Metro’s jurisdiction this year.
Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-3838-4638. Find him on Twitter: @ColtonLochhead. Contact Ricardo Torres at email@example.com or 702-383-0381. Find him on Twitter: @rickytwrites. Review-Journal writers Kimber Laux and Cassandra Taloma and photographer Bizu Tesfaye contributed to this report.