Las Vegas police gave two reasons Monday for releasing a surveillance video that shows a man being shot in the head.
"A lot of debate went into it," public information officer Marcus Martin said. "Should we cut it down, should we exclude the most violent part where the victim is shot? We thought it would be best to leave the video intact and get it out that way."
The footage – captured shortly after 1 a.m. on May 10 – shows an attempted robbery and shooting that took place outside a 7-Eleven on the 900 block of Sierra Vista Drive, near Swenson Street and Desert Inn Road. The clip was posted on the department’s YouTube channel Monday afternoon. A link also was provided through the Las Vegas police’s Twitter account.
The 30-second clip begins as a suspect approaches two men who are exiting the store. When the victims push the suspect away, he walks in the opposite direction and out of view of the camera. One man, standing with his back to the door, pulls a cellphone from his pocket and begins to make a call. At the 27-second mark, the glass behind the victim’s head shatters and he falls. Police said the suspect shot the man in the head.
The department hopes making the video public will bring new leads to the 2-month-old investigation of the crime. The clip also is a strong reminder that while armed robberies in Las Vegas are decreasing, they are also becoming more dangerous.
"We tell the public all the time that armed robberies are becoming more violent," Martin said. "Maybe it doesn’t fall on all the ears it needs to. But the video shows that."
Police officials discussed the pros and cons of posting the video before it went live. Martin said an important factor was that the victim, while still hospitalized, is expected to survive. Martin also said he believed the family was contacted beforehand. Disclaimers of the video’s "intense" and "violent" nature give viewers a warning of the violence they will see.
"I know some people might be shocked about the content, Martin said. "But we thought the reality is more important."
By 8:30 p.m. Monday, the video had 306 views.
Police described the suspect as a white or Hispanic male who is at least 6 feet tall with a slender build. He was last seen wearing a blue "LA Dodgers" baseball cap with white lettering, a dark blue or black jacket, dark pants and black and white athletic-type shoes. The suspect was also smoking a cigarette on the video.
The weapon used in the shooting was described as a chrome-colored handgun held in the suspect’s right hand.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call the Metropolitan Police Department Homicide Section at 828-3521, or to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 385-5555.
Contact Ben Frederickson at bfrederickson@review journal.com or 702-224-5512.