The man who died during a shootout with Las Vegas police last week committed suicide, Undersheriff Jim Dixon said Thursday at a press conference.
Danny Wadsworth, 31, robbed two women May 30 at gunpoint of their purses at Town Square Las Vegas. As he drove from the shopping center, he fired a shot out of his car’s window with a Taurus .38-caliber revolver, Dixon said. The gun was not registered to him, he said.
Responding officers tracked Wadsworth’s location using one of the women’s phones, which was in her purse and had a locator app installed.
While officers tracked him, Wadsworth stopped at a store and tried to use the women’s ATM cards to withdraw money, Dixon said.
During the hunt for Wadsworth, a lieutenant driving across town to help find him was in a car crash on the way. He had minor injuries.
Police caught up with Wadsworth about 20 minutes after he left Town Square Las Vegas, Dixon said. He refused to pull over despite patrol cars using their lights and sirens, and finally spun out of control and hit another car at Tam Drive and Sahara Avenue, near Interstate 15.
Wadsworth fired his weapon, and officers Bryce Martines and Jeffrey Gentry fired back, thinking they were his target, Dixon said.
Wadsworth died at the scene. As police began their investigation, Dixon said, they began to speculate Wadsworth may have shot himself, not at officers. As the investigation progressed, it became clear that neither Martines nor Gentry shot Wadsworth. Their bullets hit the vehicle behind him.
The Clark County coroner’s office confirmed Thursday that Wadsworth died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Gentry and Martines will remain on paid administrative leave until they have met with a psychologist and are comfortable returning to duty. Dixon said he was proud of the department’s care of employees who have undergone traumatic events.
Dixon also commented Thursday on the seriousness of Wadsworth’s robbery.
“This is a crime that somebody becomes very personal with you,” he said of the gunpoint purse-snatching. “He actually stuck a gun in their faces.”
Wadsworth’s criminal history included illegal possession of a firearm, child abuse and neglect, stolen property, burglary, grand larceny and theft.
This was Metro’s eighth officer-involved shooting of 2014 and the fourth that was fatal.
Contact reporter Annalise Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0391. Reporter Wesley Juhl contributed to this report.