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Police: Officers tried to de-escalate encounter before fatally shooting knife-wielding man

Updated November 28, 2023 - 6:56 pm

Three Las Vegas police officers fired 17 rounds and killed a knife-wielding man after police first showed “great restraint and humanity” using bean bags and other non-lethal options in an officer-involved shooting early Saturday, an official said Tuesday.

The officers, Philippe Dinh, Oscar Nuno-Reynoso and Kyle Corso, each fired multiple shots, killing Robert Pitcher, 51, at an apartment complex parking lot at South Seaton Place in southeast Las Vegas, Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Sasha Larkin said at a news conference.

They also shouted verbal commands, fired 18 non-lethal bean bag rounds and used a Taser twice on Pitcher, but he still refused to drop the large, fixed-blade kitchen knife and raised it in his right hand as if to be ready to stab with it, according to Larkin and footage from police body-worn cameras shown at the news conference.

“Our officers showed great restraint and humanity when they encountered Pitcher by using communication and repeated low lethal options to de-escalate the situation,” Larkin stated.

Further, Larkin said, “our officers undergo extensive crisis intervention training to communicate appropriately with those that are experiencing a mental or emotional crisis.”

All three of the officers have been with the department for a relatively short time — Dinn, 29, and Corso, 34, joined the force in 2021 and Nuno-Reynoso, 22, joined in 2022, according to Larkin.

Dinh, using a Glock 17 model 9mm handgun with a tactical light and optic for targeting, fired six shots; Nuno-Reynoso, with a Staccato P 9mm with tactical light, shot three times; and Corso, with a Glock 17 and tactical light, shot eight times.

At 2:55 a.m., Pitcher’s mother called police to report her son was feeling suicidal and that he had left a residence on foot armed with a knife, Larkin said. An officer dispatched to the apartment complex was unable to locate Pitcher.

When the officer went to the mother’s residence, he confirmed with the family that a knife was missing from the kitchen and also learned from them that Pitcher’s son had succumbed to an overdose, Larkin said.

“Before Pitcher left his residence, he told his family he was, quote, going to be with his recently deceased son,” she said.

Minutes later, the officer exited the residence, noticed Pitcher in the area and called for backup officers, she said.

“As officers responded, they immediately established two immediate action teams to isolate Pitcher who was armed in a residential area,” Larkin said.

The action teams include officers trained in specific roles “emphasizing de-escalating tactics, communication and low lethal options,” she said.

In the police camera footage, officers are seen commanding Pitcher to drop the knife, then shooting the bean bag rounds as Pitcher shifted from side to side with each impact but did not release the knife and in the end, raised it toward police, which “caused officers Dinh, Nuno-Reynoso and Corso to discharge their firearms,” Larkin said.

The department first reported that the shooting occurred in the 3900 block of Landsdown Place but Larkin in her statement said it was at South Seaton Place.

All three officers are on paid administrative leave pending review of the incident, police stated prior to the news conference.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on X.

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