The violence began about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday with the killing of 25-year-old Thomas Romero, who police have said was shot multiple times in the chest at a car wash at 1402 N. Eastern Ave. He died hours later at University Medical Center of multiple gunshot wounds, the Clark County coroner determined.
The homicide investigation — the 90th this year for the Metropoltian Police Department — sparked a police chase a few hours later that ended with a volley of gunfire from police officers, causing Hollingsworth Elementary School to go into a “hard lockdown” and closing major roads in the downtown area.
The suspects in the fatal shooting of Romero, later identified as 22-year-old Fidel Miranda and 30-year-old Rene Nunez, fled the scene in a black Ford Expedition. About two hours later, police spotted a vehicle matching that description near 29th Street and Constantine Avenue, police said.
Officers attempted to stop the SUV, but the suspects sped away, Metro Capt. Yesenia Yatomi said at a press conference Wednesday. During the chase, the suspects fired at marked patrol vehicles, police said. One officer exchanged gunfire before the Ford crashed into a wall at the elementary school at 1776 E. Ogden Ave., near 18th Street.
School locked down
About 100 children from kindergarten to fourth grade were on campus for summer school at the time of the shootout, Clark County School District spokeswoman Melinda Malone said Wednesday. The school went on lockdown as soon as the disturbance was reported and remained so until dismissal at 1 p.m.
After the crash, Nunez took off onto school grounds but was later found with a gunshot wound and taken into custody. He was treated at University Medical Center with survivable injuries, although it was notclear whether he had been wounded by police or shot prior to the police chase.
No officers were injured during the incident.
Nunez was booked Tuesday into the Clark County Detention Center on nine charges, including two counts of murder, three of attempted murder and one of a driver disobeying an officer resulting in death or bodily harm, jail records show.
Court records show that Nunez has a criminal history in Clark County dating back to at least 2010, when he pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. He also pleaded guilty in 2011 to robbery and larceny from a person in 2014, according to court records.
Miranda at first remained inside the SUV after it hit the wall but attempted to flee shortly afterward, police said. As he was running, police fatally shot him outside the elementary school, where he was pronounced dead. He died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the coroner’s office.
It is not clear whether Miranda had a criminal history in Clark County.
Metro on Friday identified the officers who fired their weapons as 37-year-old William Umana and 46-year-old Paul Solomon. Both are assigned to the tourist safety division of Metro’s downtown area command and have been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of the investigation into their use of force.
Umana joined Metro in August 2001 and Solomon in September 2005, according to Metro.
In August 2016, Solomon was commended for exemplary service by Metro after he and another officer searched through debris from a fiery bus crash to recover a foreign tourist’s wedding ring. The tourist died in the crash and the officers presented the ring to the tourist’s widow.
Wednesday’s incident was the 10th officer-involved shooting of 2018 and the fifth fatal shooting. At this time last year, six of the department’s 10 police shootings were fatal, according to Las Vegas Review-Journal records.
Further details are expected to be released by Metro within 72 hours of the incident.