A pair of Nevada Highway Patrol troopers opened fire on a man early Monday morning, critically wounding him after he led a high- speed chase through parts of the Las Vegas Valley that ended on U.S. Highway 95 at Jones Boulevard, authorities said.
The man, whose age and identity have not been released, was at University Medical Center Trauma Unit on Monday afternoon in stable condition.
The case is under investigation by Las Vegas police, said Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Jeremie Elliott, a spokesman for the department.
“We don’t know whether he shot at the troopers or not, but at one point we do know he brandished a gun and at one point put a gun to his head,” Elliott said at the scene.
A statement released by the Highway Patrol on Monday afternoon said after the car chase, the man got out of his car, brandished a weapon, fled on foot and was shot by troopers.
Elliott said the names of the troopers who fired their weapons won’t be released until at least 48 hours after the shooting, per department policy.
A stretch of U.S. 95 was closed for about six hours Monday morning during rush hour, and hundreds of commuters were rerouted through side streets. Las Vegas police and the Highway Patrol were piecing together evidence from the chase, which started at 3:49 a.m. at Tropicana Avenue and Nellis Boulevard, the Highway Patrol said.
According to the Highway Patrol, the man failed to stop for a traffic violation, then led troopers in his gray 2005 Buick on a 10-mile chase that exceeded 100 mph.
Metal spikes were stripped across the northbound lanes of U.S. 95 at Las Vegas Boulevard. But the man drove through them and kept going, Elliott said.
“The guy just didn’t want to stop. His car eventually caught fire because the rubber on his tires wore out, and he ended up driving on metal wheels,” Elliott said. “And when you do that, you start to generate sparks.”
The man then bailed from his car as troopers followed him down an embankment onto Jones Boulevard, Elliott said.
It was then that he turned to them and pointed a gun at his head, Elliott said.
The troopers carry Sig Sauer P229 semiautomatic handguns, which carry 12-round magazines.
Monday’s shooting was the third by a Highway Patrol trooper in the past decade.
In October 2006, trooper Angie Chavera shot and wounded a homeless man in the face during a confrontation in northwest Las Vegas.
She was helping a Las Vegas city marshal on a call about people soliciting near Durango Drive and Farm Road.
While the marshal was placing one suspect into custody, the trooper went into a vacant lot to confront Donald O’Day.
The 50-year-old started throwing rocks at Chavera, who tussled with him and tripped. O’Day kept throwing rocks and advancing on Chavera when she fired, hitting him in the face.
Four years earlier, trooper Guy Davis exchanged gunfire with a 16-year-old in the midst of a one-man crime spree.
Davis encountered Giles Manley one evening in May 2002 after the teen kidnapped at gunpoint a 21-year-old school custodian and made him drive away in the custodian’s car.
The custodian noticed Davis’ patrol car on a traffic stop at the Eastern Avenue offramp from U.S. Highway 95 and slowed next to the trooper’s vehicle.
From the back seat, Manley shot the custodian several times, causing his car to crash into the car the trooper had pulled over. Manley then opened fire on Davis, who jumped over a cement barrier and returned fire. Davis was shot in the foot.
Manley ran down the exit ramp, carjacked a family’s SUV, and led police on a chase. The pursuit ended when Manley’s vehicle slammed into another car, instantly killing that driver.
Manley survived and was sentenced to six life sentences in prison.
Reporters Brian Haynes and Antonio Planas contributed this story.