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Man killed by officers said he was going to ‘get police to shoot him’

Updated November 22, 2021 - 4:28 pm

A bank robbery suspect fatally shot by police had told his girlfriend earlier in the day that he was going to “do something to get police to shoot him,” Las Vegas police said at a news briefing Monday.

Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Lazaro Chavez said that Steven Thomas, 36, was fatally shot by police Wednesday after a series of burglaries and an attempt to point a gun at an officer.

Chavez said police received three calls in a nine-minute period regarding Thomas that morning: an armed robbery where he’s suspected of taking a man’s vehicle at gunpoint, an attempted convenience store robbery and a holdup at a bank.

Sgt. Donald Graham, 59, and officer Amelia Lukac, 40, found Thomas driving the stolen vehicle near Cheyenne Avenue and Tenaya Way shortly after the third robbery. Graham attempted to pull Thomas over, but when Thomas tried to reach for a firearm, Graham struck him with his Metro vehicle.

Dash and body worn camera footage released Monday showed the moment Thomas reached for a weapon while walking through the road. After he was struck by the Metro SUV, Lukac’s video showed Thomas stand up and point his gun at Graham.

Chavez said Graham fired one shot from a Glock 21 .45 caliber and Lukac fired 20 from a Glock 19 9mm.

“Thomas attempted to get up with his gun several times and officer Lukac fired until he stopped moving,” Chavez said.

Lukac’s body camera footage showed Thomas stand up, while she yelled “get down on the ground right now,” and “hands up” several times before firing. Thomas continued to move, and she fired each time while yelling “stay down.”

Thomas was armed with a semi-automatic Springfield 9mm, but he never fired a round.

He died at University Medical Center from gunshot wounds to the head and torso, according to the Clark County coroner’s office.

Wednesday’s shooting was the 10th time Metro has shot at someone this year. Six of those shootings were fatal.

Lukac, who has been with the department since 2004, and Graham, who has been employed with Metro since 1998, are both on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter. Review-Journal reporter Glenn Puit contributed to this report.

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