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Suspect dead after standoff with police at Laughlin casino

Updated August 19, 2019 - 11:07 pm

LAUGHLIN — Las Vegas police early Monday shot and killed an armed man accused of trying to rob a Laughlin casino overnight.

The shooting happened in the parking lot of the Aquarius hotel-casino about six hours after the 1:30 a.m. attempted robbery, Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Nichole Splinter said.

While trying to escape the abandoned robbery attempt, the man shot at a casino security guard but missed. By the time he made it to his car, arriving officers had him surrounded, Splinter said.

She said the man refused police commands to exit the car until about 7:30 a.m., when he abruptly emerged with his weapon drawn and ran toward officers, prompting police to open fire. The Clark County coroner’s office will release the identity of the man after relatives have been notified.

It’s unclear if the man ever fired a round at officers. No officers were injured.

“We are thankful to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, S.W.A.T. and our security team for their quick action to protect our employees and guests,” Sean Hammond, the casino’s general manager, said in an emailed statement. “We can confirm that no guests or employees were harmed during this incident.”

Splinter said the man first tried to rob the Golden Nugget casino in Laughlin, which backs up to the Colorado River at 2300 S. Casino Drive.

The man placed his weapon on the counter of the casino’s cashier cage about 1 a.m. and demanded money, but the cashier refused. So the man left the property.

About 30 minutes later, the man tried to rob the cashier’s cage at the nearby Aquarius in the same fashion. The Aquarius is at 1900 S. Casino Drive.

“There was a casino security officer in the area, and the suspect apparently got nervous and started to walk away,” Splinter said.

As the man headed to the parking lot, the guard alerted the rest of casino security to the robbery attempt. Outside, another guard confronted the man, who then drew his weapon and shot at the guard. The guard was not hurt.

Police then arrived and surrounded the man in his vehicle.

Laughlin is about 75 miles southeast of Las Vegas but still lies within Clark County, so Las Vegas police maintain jurisdiction. The town’s Metro substation is less than a mile from the Aquarius casino.

In keeping with department protocol, police will identify all officers involved in the shooting and release any body camera footage of the incident this week.

As of Monday afternoon, the parking lot of the Aquarius was still shut down to the public as police documented the scene.

The shooting marked the 13th officer-involved shooting that Metro has investigated this year, according to records maintained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Five were deadly, including one that ended in suicide.

At the same time last year, the newspaper’s records show, Metro had investigated 16 police shootings — 10 of which were deadly, including two that ended in suicide.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Review-Journal staff writers Marvin Clemons and Max Michor contributed to this report.

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