Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Sunday’s killing of two Las Vegas police officers in the line of duty made it an “unprecedented day” for his department.
Metro had never before seen two of its officers killed in a single incident. Officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, were fatally shot while they ate lunch at CiCi’s Pizza, 309 N. Nellis Blvd., about 11:20 a.m. Sunday. The shooters also killed a woman in a nearby Wal-Mart before committing suicide.
The slayings elicited condolences from Nevada elected leaders and the pizza store.
“It is truly a tragic day here in the Las Vegas Valley,” Gillespie said during an afternoon news conference. “It’s a very, very difficult day.”
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called Sunday’s attack “a senseless and cruel act killing three innocent people, two who dedicated their lives to protecting all of us in our community and one who was innocently going about her daily life. At UMC Trauma and thereafter with fellow officers, I saw their pain was evident and clear. Their resolve was greater than ever to serve our community with loyalty, dedication and to honor the memory of their two comrades and friends.”
Goodman directed that all flags at city facilities be lowered to half-staff.
District Attorney Steve Wolfson went to the scene of the shooting on what he called “a terrible, terrible day.
“This community is going to be rocked by this for some time,” Wolfson said.
Gov. Brian Sandoval late Sunday issued a statement about the attack:
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families,” the governor said. “I am receiving regular updates with regard to this tragedy and local and state law enforcement are assisting at the scene.”
Cici’s and Wal-Mart were closed while Metro investigated. It was unclear when the businesses would reopen. CiCi’s Vice President of Operations Geoff Goodman released a statement on behalf of the chain.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and our hearts go out to the families and friends of the officers,” Goodman said. “CiCi’s is assisting police in any way we can.”
Three Las Vegas police officers have died in separate on-duty incidents in recent years.
David Vanbuskirk, who died in July during a helicopter rescue at Mount Charleston, was the first Metro officer killed on-duty since 2009, a year when three officers died in traffic crashes and when officer Trevor Nettleton was shot.
Beck memorialized Vanbuskirk shortly after his death in a Facebook post:
“One of my friends was killed last night. He was doing a helicopter rescue when his harness came loose and he fell about 60 feet. Dave was one of those even keel guys that would have done anything for you. A great guy to have standing next to you when you knew it was going to get bad. He will be missed.”
Nettleton had just finished his patrol shift when he was attacked in his garage by several would-be robbers, who were later charged with his murder. Although Nettleton had finished his patrol shift and was in street clothes, Metro classified his death as on-duty.
Sgt. Henry Prendes was shot and killed responding to a domestic violence call in 2006.
The agency lists 18 other on-duty deaths in department history, including seven officers killed before the Las Vegas Police Department consolidated with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office in 1973.
Reporter Annalise Porter contributed. Contact Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283. Find him on Twitter: @blasky.