A man barricaded himself inside a central valley apartment early Wednesday evening, then shot at responding officers, sending dozens of residents running for cover and others crawling out their rear windows amid the barrage of gunfire.
The standoff stretched late into the night and shut down businesses along more than a block of Twain Avenue, between Paradise Road and Swenson Street, Las Vegas police said. Police said shortly after 11 p.m. that the standoff had ended and the suspect had been taken into custody.
SWAT officers with assault rifles were trying to persuade the man to surrender. Flash-bang grenades were set off by police, according to witnesses.
The barricade occurred just before 6 p.m. after police received a report of man crawling through a resident’s window at Paradise Park apartments, said Laura Meltzer, a Las Vegas police public information officer.
“This is an active scene,” Meltzer said late Wednesday. “When officers arrived, they were shot at, and when our officers get shot at, it’s a very serious situation, and we’re using extreme caution.”
Police had little information on what prompted the man to break into the apartment, but a few witnesses who escaped from the complex said that he had forced a woman out of her apartment, then held her two children hostage just before he started shooting at officers.
“She was flipping out,” said Pete Texiera, 40, who was returning from work and saw the mother crying in the street. “She was yelling, ‘My kids are still in there! My kids are still in there!’ Police had their guns drawn, and he was firing at them, and everybody was running to get out of the way.”
Witnesses said the man fired as many as 14 rounds.
John Turpin, who lives near Paradise Park, considered trying to see what was going on, only to think twice about it because of the encroaching gunfire.
“I thought, ‘Well, maybe, it’s not that important to see after all,’ ” he said.
A police helicopter was dispatched to the scene, K-9 units were brought in, and SWAT officers showed up at a back alley that ends at Palos Verdes Street, a side road that intersects with Twain Avenue.
Residents of the apartment complex were escorted from the apartment complex gradually, dozens at a time. Some residents had to crawl out of their back windows. At one point, two elementary school-age children were whisked to safety by SWAT officers. According to police, the armed man was in the apartment alone.
Evacuees were taken to the nearby Cambridge Recreation Center. Many of the residents were relieved to be out of the line of gunfire.
“I was asleep when I heard the banging on my door,” Paradise Park resident Dean Ruff said. “They didn’t give me any explanation and simply told me to get out.”
Ruff, who was wearing shorts, a T-shirt and sandals, said he didn’t have time to get anything out of his apartment before he left.
Now, he’s worried about how long he’s going to have to remain at the recreation center without his wallet or phone.
“I don’t even know if everyone in the complex got evacuated,” he said. “I hope everyone is OK because I have family who live on the other side of the complex and don’t know anything about them.”
Review-Journal writer Maria Agreda contributed to this report. Contact Tom Ragan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5512.