Police officer wounded; beating death suspect killed

A man who shot and wounded a police detective Wednesday and was then killed by officers’ return fire was a murder suspect with a lengthy criminal history, sources said.

Jason Baires, 23, was suspected by Las Vegas police in the beating death of a man Tuesday afternoon.

Baires had several prior convictions for possession of drugs and stolen goods, court records show.

He was killed early Wednesday after a shootout with several police agencies that were tracking him for questioning in the homicide case. Police said Baires shot a Las Vegas police officer in the hip, but the detective was expected to be OK.

A police source called the shooting “completely justified.”

“He came out of his vehicle shooting, and we addressed it,” the officer said.

Police said the shooting happened about 2 a.m. after officers stopped a vehicle on Michael Way near Washington Avenue.

Detectives with the valley’s Criminal Apprehension Team, which includes Las Vegas, Henderson and federal authorities, had identified Baires as a passenger in the car, police said.

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

Police said Baires then fired several shots from a handgun, striking a detective chasing on foot. The detective was listed in stable condition at University Medical Center, police said.

Both Henderson and Las Vegas officers returned fire, police said. Baires died at the scene.

Baires was a suspect in the Tuesday death of a man discovered at 5:30 p.m. at 4613 Stacey Ave., less than two miles from the scene of Wednesday’s shootout.

Detectives were called to the home after a woman found the body of the man inside. The man had died from “repetitive blunt force trauma,” police said. On Wednesday the victim was identified as Rodolfo Velasco-Bayardo, 50.

A police source said Baires had been involved in a dispute with the man, but the source did not know details of the argument.

No one was at the rental home Wednesday morning, and the front door was sealed with police tape.

Neighbors who spoke to the Review-Journal described the people who lived there as a Hispanic couple in their 50s but didn’t know much more.

Baires’ lawyer, Kristina Wildeveld, was shocked to learn of her client’s death and questioned whether he could have been involved in a killing.

“He had no violent past,” she said.

She had defended Baires in his latest drug case and was defending him on several recent charges, including an attempted murder on a police officer charge from an incident in the Clark County Detention Center.

Wildeveld said police had overcharged Baires, who became severely paranoid after his time at the county jail.

She said Baires, in a panic, tried to grab a correction officer’s keys — nothing more.

“This wasn’t any attempted murder,” she said. “He was a teddy bear.”

Wednesday’s shooting was the second officer-involved shooting of the year, and it came less than 12 hours after the first.

On Tuesday afternoon, a man was shot and seriously wounded by a Las Vegas police officer near downtown after he swung a knife at an officer, police said.

Police said Larry Barber, 37, was jaywalking across Fremont Street when two officers in a patrol car stopped him.

Barber ran into the Travel Inn at 2028 E. Fremont St., near 21st Street. Officers later discovered that he was wanted on “felony escape” charges for not fulfilling parole requirements after his release from prison.

Barber had several prior convictions for drug charges, domestic battery and battery causing substantial bodily harm, records showed.

Two witnesses told detectives that, once inside, Barber grabbed a knife from his pants and walked toward the officer, swinging the knife at him, police said.

The officer fired several rounds.

Barber was taken to UMC in critical condition.

The names of the officers involved in both shootings will be released 48 hours after the incidents, per department policy.

Wednesday’s shooting happened on the anniversary of the death of Sgt. Henry Prendes, who was gunned down while responding to a domestic violence call six years ago.

Reporters Brian Haynes and Antonio Planas contributed to this story. Contact reporter Mike Blasky at
mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

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