Henderson police shot and killed a homicide suspect Monday morning during an attempted arrest by a fugitive task force.
Two police officers shot 43-year-old Andy Puente Soto after a short car chase about 9:10 a.m., authorities said.
Soto was wanted in the stabbing death of Scott Gerald Harrison, 36, whose body was found July 4 in the desert between Las Vegas and Indian Springs, about 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas, police said.
Detectives with the valley’s Criminal Apprehension Team, which includes Las Vegas and Henderson police and federal authorities, had been following Soto as he drove on Boulder Highway on Monday morning, Henderson police spokesman Keith Paul said.
When a Henderson patrol officer tried to stop the Nissan Maxima, Soto drove to the intersection of Boulder Highway and Warm Springs Road, where his vehicle crossed the median and became disabled, Paul said.
The Henderson patrol officer and fugitive detectives confronted Soto, who got out of his vehicle and tried to carjack a woman who had stopped because her lane was partially blocked by Soto’s car, Paul said.
"The officers yelled at her to lock her doors. She listened, and he was unable to get in," Paul said.
The woman drove away unharmed, he said.
The officers yelled at Soto to show his hands. Soto had one hand in his waistband as he turned toward police, prompting two officers to fire.
Paul said Soto had "indicated he had a weapon" by keeping his hand on his waist and making "aggressive, furtive movements." Police found no weapon after Soto had been shot.
Officer Daniel Medrano, a four-year veteran of the Henderson Police Department, and Detective David Rowlett, a 16-year veteran, were placed on routine paid administrative leave after the shooting.
The homicide was a Las Vegas police case, and Metropolitan Police Department officers were present during the shooting, but none of them fired their guns.
According to Soto’s arrest warrant, he stabbed Harrison to death June 29 at a home at 4923 Azure Drive, near Durango Drive and Centennial Parkway in the northwest valley.
A witness told police that Soto and his roommate, Albert Alfaro, had become suspicious of Harrison, and Soto stabbed him once in the chest.
The witness told detectives that Soto and Alfaro tied his arms and legs and held him hostage for several hours as they debated what to do with Harrison’s body.
Soto and Alfaro loaded Harrison’s body into the back of a pickup and dumped him in the desert, the witness told police.
Alfaro drove back to Las Vegas and released the witness for unknown reasons. The witness later told police what happened and showed detectives the home where Harrison was killed.
Alfaro admitted his role in the crime to police but had not been booked at the Clark County Detention Center, records show. It was unknown whether he would be charged.
Las Vegas homicide investigators did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Neighbors described Monday’s police shooting as brief but violent.
Dominik Ochoa, 11, heard a few gunshots down the road from his house about 9 a.m.
By the time he and his mother got to the intersection, they saw a swarm of police cars and a man lying on the road. Ochoa said paramedics worked to revive him but stopped after about five minutes.
The boy overhead an officer say police had shot and killed the man.
"I was really scared, I didn’t know what was going on," he said.
It was the second fatal shooting of a murder suspect this year by the valley’s Criminal Apprehension Team.
In February, several officers from the team shot and killed Jason Baires, 23. Baires had been suspected of killing his mother’s boyfriend and shot a police officer in the hip as he ran from detectives. The officer was not seriously injured.
Paul said the Henderson officers have been placed on routine administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Review-Journal reporter Kyle Potter contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283.Deadly Force: When Las Vegas Police Shoot, and KillLas Vegas Review-Journal investigative series