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Police: Suspect went for injured trooper’s gun after vehicle stopped

Updated August 2, 2021 - 7:46 pm

The man who struck a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper with a stolen vehicle last week drove about a mile with the trooper in his windshield and reached for his gun before he was fatally shot by officers, police said Monday.

The Metropolitan Police Department, Highway Patrol and Nevada Department of Public Safety held a joint news conference Monday to provide more information about last Tuesday’s chase and the fatal shooting of Douglas Claiborne, 60.

A man told police at 11:19 a.m. Tuesday that he was working at a construction site near Sunset Road and Las Vegas Boulevard when Claiborne stole his car while flashing a foot-long knife and drove over his foot while fleeing the scene, Metro Undersheriff Christopher Darcy said.

The Highway Patrol tried to stop Claiborne when the car was located near Interstate 15 and the Speedway Boulevard exit around 11:50 a.m., but he wouldn’t stop.

Claiborne drove erratically on and off the freeway throughout the chase, maneuvering around six sets of stop sticks that were deployed in an attempt to slow him down. When trooper Micah May deployed a seventh set of stop sticks near the Charleston Boulevard exit, Claiborne drove around the sticks and hit May with his vehicle, Darcy said.

May was lodged in the windshield, and Claiborne continued to drive south for about a mile before troopers were able to ram the vehicle and get Claiborne to stop near the Spring Mountain Road exit. He then tried to grab May’s gun, and four officers on scene fired 26 rounds.

Darcy said May was inside the car and “out of harm’s way” by the time the shooting began and was not hit by gunfire. Claiborne was hit several times and pronounced dead at the scene.

The Clark County coroner’s office said Claiborne died of gunshot wounds to the head and torso. His death was ruled a homicide.

Darcy identified the shooters as trooper Joseph DellaBella, 51, and Nevada Parole and Probation officers Derek Simmons, 30, Garrett Dix, 28, and Luis Villanueva, 28.

May was airlifted to University Medical Center in critical condition. The married father of two and 13-year Highway Patrol veteran died Thursday.

On Monday, the Clark County Coroner’s office ruled that May, 46, died of blunt trauma. His death was ruled a homicide.

Darcy said it was the first time Metro’s air unit was used to rescue a downed officer and transport him to the hospital.

On Sunday, first responders from agencies across the valley as well as residents looked on as May’s body was taken from the coroner’s office to Palm Mortuary-Downtown, 1325 N. Main St.

The Sunday procession followed a shorter procession Saturday, when May’s body was carried from the hospital to the coroner’s office.

Police are still investigating this shooting, and Darcy said more details will be released as they become available.

In the coming days, the Highway Patrol plans to park May’s patrol vehicle at Police Memorial Park, 3250 Metro Academy Way, in northwest Las Vegas, so the public can visit and pay respects.

A candlelight vigil is planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the park.

Contact Alexis Ford at aford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexisdford on Twitter. Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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