A man armed with two handguns robbed a U.S. Bank in the western Las Vegas Valley early Saturday afternoon, then led police on a car chase before he was shot and wounded in the backyard of a home after pointing a gun at officers, police said.
The suspect, estimated to be in his 40s, broke into two homes after the 12:50 p.m. armed robbery. During the second home invasion, a homeowner shot at him, said officer Bill Cassell, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department.
The bank robbery took place in the 2500 block of Rainbow Boulevard, just south of Sahara Avenue. The home invasions occurred no more than a mile away, just southeast of the intersection of Sahara and Laredo Street, Cassell said.
According to Cassell, the man in the second home "retrieved his firearm" and shot at the suspect to protect his wife and two children who were inside the home at the time. Whether the homeowner succeeded in hitting the suspect is still in question, Cassell said.
After the homeowner shot at him, the suspect ran into the backyard, where officers were waiting for him. The suspect aimed a gun at them, and officers opened fire, Cassell said.
The suspect, who wasn’t immediately identified, was taken to University Medical Center after sustaining what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries, Cassell said.
"We don’t know what he was doing in the first home and who he was firing rounds at, but nobody was shot and nobody was hurt, except the suspect," Cassell said.
The bank robbery, which is now being handled by the FBI, caught the attention of the Police Department’s air unit, which spotted the suspect driving a station wagon west on Sahara, Cassell said.
Squad cars sandwiched him inside a parking lot just outside a Rapid Cash store at Sahara and Rainbow, but he drove between the cars and fled as they tried to ram him, said Gabby Torres, who works at the store.
"When we saw the flashing lights and saw the police, at first we thought one of us hit the panic buttons," Torres said. "But then it turned out to be something else, something real."
At one point, Torres said, a police officer approached the suspect with a Taser, but he wouldn’t get out of the car. Then another squad car came rushing in, and it was at that point that the man sped off, she said.
The suspect headed east on Sahara, then south on Buffalo Road, where he ditched the car, fled on foot, and broke into a pair of houses for reasons that are still unknown by police, Cassell said.
While the man was inside the two houses, officers used a megaphone to order residents in the neighborhood to stay inside their homes because there was an armed suspect on the loose and he was considered dangerous.
In the interim, police closed in on the housing development on the southeast side of the intersection of Sahara and Laredo, according to resident Tim Dugan, who lives in the 2800 block of Monte Cristo Way.
Dugan stayed inside his home, as directed by police.
"I wasn’t about to go out," Dugan said. "They did a good job at warning us, and they’ve done a good job overall. Look at all these squad cars out here."
Just under a dozen squad cars were on the scene in the aftermath, cordoning off the neighborhood and redirecting traffic.
Cassell said he didn’t know where the suspect was shot.
The FBI has taken over the investigation because bank robbery is a federal crime.
Contact reporter Tom Ragan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5512.