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Murder suspect shot by FBI agent dies

A murder suspect who was shot by an FBI agent Thursday afternoon died that evening, authorities said Friday.

Las Vegas police said the man – who authorities have identified by multiple names – died from injuries after undergoing surgery at a local hospital. He was shot about 2 p.m. at Arizona Charlie’s, a hotel-casino on Boulder Highway.

The man, named Joshua Durchell in court records but also called Joshua Burchell by the Clark County coroner’s office and Jerome Burchell by the FBI, was shot while authorities were trying to arrest him for a robbery that occurred May 31, 2011, at a local fast food store. Durchell was also a suspect in the investigation of a murder that occurred July 22, police said.

The agent who shot Durchell was working with the multi-agency Criminal Apprehension Team, a group of local and federal officers in Southern Nevada that helps detectives arrest suspects in serious crimes. An FBI statement released Friday said Durchell, 35, ignored an agent’s repeated commands and brandished a weapon before he was shot and fatally wounded.

The name of the agent who shot Durchell has not yet been released.

Police had considered Durchell a suspect in the July 22 slaying of 38-year-old Esteban Meza Jr.

Meza’s body was discovered July 22 at the Shelter Cove apartment complex at 2683 Decatur Blvd., near Sahara Avenue. A person who went to pick Meza up for church found him dead in his apartment, police said.

A neighbor at the complex said different groups of people often visited Meza’s apartment.

“There were lots of people always coming and going. Always a different group of people that never stayed long,” said the neighbor, who asked not to be identified.

“No matter what, who you are, or what you did, this is just a shame,” the neighbor said. “No one deserves to die like that.”

The warrant FBI agents were serving on Durchell came from the robbery of a Las Vegas Quizno’s on May 31, 2011.

Durchell’s arrest report said he used a handgun to threaten the store clerk into giving him money from the cash register and stole money from the clerk’s purse.

Durchell was booked on recommended charges of felony conspiracy, armed robbery, armed burglary and kidnapping. He was indicted the following month. One month after that, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The FBI said the shooting that led to Durchell’s death will be reviewed by a team of agency investigators, a protocol for agent-involved shootings. The investigation will be coordinated with other local and federal law enforcement agencies, according to the FBI.

It was at least the third shooting by an FBI agent in Southern Nevada since 1992.

In 1998, a Las Vegas police sergeant and agent Dave McKean, as part of CAT, arrested a robbery and kidnapping suspect less than a block away from the scene of Thursday’s incident.

But, during that arrest, the suspect struggled and called for help.

Terry Brown, then 19, came running. He confronted officers before he ran to a car, where he got inside and struck McKean and the sergeant.

Both officers fired on Brown, who was not wounded. He was captured nearby.

In 1992, agent Mike Levin partnered with North Las Vegas police to arrest three people suspected of trafficking in drugs.

When the officers tried to arrest one of the suspects at a shopping center at Nellis Boulevard and Bonanza Road, two others fled in a car to a dead-end street.

One of those suspects got out of the car and was arrested.

The second person in the car, Jose Luis Castro, wouldn’t get out.

Levin, with a gun drawn, leaned through a car window, and Castro grabbed the agent’s jacket, tried to pull him in, and reached for a knife.

Levin broke free and fired once, grazing Castro’s chin. He was arrested at the scene.

CAT officers have been involved in two other fatal shootings this year. In all three cases, officers were chasing murder suspects.

On July 23, two Henderson officers shot and killed shot 43-year-old Andy Puente Soto after a short car chase.

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.

On Feb. 1, Henderson and Las Vegas police officers shot and killed 23-year-old Jason Baires, who had been suspected of killing his mother’s boyfriend with a machete.

Police said Baires ran from his vehicle and fled through an alley near Michael Way and Washington Avenue. As he ran south on Michael Way, a detective struck him with his vehicle and knocked him to the ground.

Police said Baires then fired several shots from a handgun, striking officer Greg Theobald in the hip. Theobald was not badly injured.

Baires died at the scene after being struck by officers’ return fire.

Review-Journal writer Lawrence Mower contributed to this report. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

 

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