A Las Vegas police officer shot and wounded an unarmed man he mistakenly thought was a homicide suspect Monday night.
Police said the shooting happened about 10:30 p.m. at a 7-Eleven near Nellis Boulevard and Stewart Avenue.
The officer told investigators he thought the man was the suspect in a pair of Sunday killings at the Pacific Harbors Sunrise apartments, near Sahara Avenue and Nellis.
The officer told the man to put his hands in the air, but he hid his right arm as he backed away from the officer, police said. The officer, whose name will be released after 48 hours, felt threatened and fired at the man.
“The individual was struck once in the abdomen and was transported to University Medical Center,” Deputy Chief Al Salinas told reporters at the scene Monday. “Subsequently, there was no weapon found.”
The man is expected to survive the shooting. He is not a suspect in Sunday’s homicide investigation.
Police refused to release the name of the man who was shot, citing the ongoing investigation.
The officer has been placed on routine, paid administrative leave pending an investigation into his actions.
Monday’s incident was the 11th Las Vegas police shooting this year and the third involving an unarmed suspect.
On Aug. 11, off-duty Detective Bernard Plaskett shot Saul Villegas in the loading zone outside the Excalibur.
He had ordered Villegas to exit his car.
Villegas, who had some “diminished mental capacity,” according to police, refused. Plaskett retrieved his handgun from the car’s center console and pointed it at Villegas.
Plaskett told police that Villegas reached down “with his left hand to the outside of his left leg.” Plaskett assumed Villegas was reaching for a weapon and fired a single round, which struck Villegas in his left wrist.
Villegas was later arrested on charges of attempted auto theft.
“On June 4, officer Daniel Perry shot at Thomas Lange when Lange pointed a black cell phone at officers, police said. Lange told detectives he was suicidal and hoped an officer would kill him, police said.
Perry’s shot missed.
Lange had been throwing large landscape rocks at a police car when officers first got to the scene. He was arrested on charges of assault on a police officer.
But he never was prosecuted. A month later, Lange killed himself when he jumped from the balcony of the Riverside Hotel & Casino in Laughlin.”
Officers who shoot at unarmed suspects have faced increased scrutiny since a Review-Journal investigation into police shootings was published in 2011 and a subsequent Department of Justice Review the next year.
Earlier this month, Las Vegas police agreed to pay $1.5 million to the widow of Stanley Gibson, the unarmed war veteran who was killed in December of 2011. Officer Jesus Arevalo, who fired the fatal shots in the Gibson case, was fired last week.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at email@example.com or 702-383-0283. Follow @blasky on Twitter.