weather icon Partly Cloudy

22 Las Vegas police shootings in 2018 leave a dozen dead

Updated January 6, 2019 - 8:51 am

Las Vegas police killed 12 people in 2018, one of the deadliest years on record for the department.

That figure is comparable to the one in 2007, when the Metropolitan Police Department also saw 12 fatal officer-involved shootings.

It also accounts for more than half of the 22 times Metro officers opened fire on people in the Las Vegas Valley last year.

Most confrontations with police last year were brazen. Nearly everyone whom officers fired at was armed with either a knife or a firearm.

Three individuals were not, but of those, one was holding a plastic machete, another was holding an empty handgun-replica BB gun, and another was holding a shovel. The man holding the plastic machete died.

“Officers have increasingly been met by armed subjects who are unafraid to use violence,” Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank told reporters in August, which saw eight Las Vegas police shootings, the most for any month last year. “While our officers attempt to de-escalate these calls peacefully, sometimes the end result is dictated by the suspect.”

In an interview last week, Capt. Jamie Prosser, who oversees the division that investigates uses of force, noted that of the fatal shootings last year, “only two of those were officer-initiated activities,” meaning an officer had initiated a traffic stop. The other 10 stemmed from calls for service.

“In those situations, citizens couldn’t handle it, so they requested the police response,” Prosser said.

For each Las Vegas police shooting last year, anywhere from one to seven officers opened fire. By the end of the year, 38 Metro officers had at some point been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Las Vegas police in the past have refused to comment on officers’ disciplinary records. It remains unclear how many of those 38 officers returned to work and when.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in December that the officer who shot the woman holding a shovel in 2018 left the department two months later, resigning ahead of an administrative hearing on his job, according to Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas police union. The woman survived.

At the time of the shooting, the officer, Ondre Wills, was 23. He had been with the department for two years.

A few days later, Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman said Wills had opened fire before backup arrived, breaking protocol.

Zimmerman also noted that police had a history with the woman Wills shot, Sommer Richards, 34. Crisis intervention officers, who typically respond to situations in which people might be suicidal or under the influence of drugs, had responded to her address seven times in 2017 and once again just two days before the shooting.

Only one of the 38 officers who opened fire last year was injured. A subject armed with a knife sliced open his hand in August. The officer was OK. The man died.

And while Metro considered 10 of the police shootings it investigated last year to be non-fatal, two of them ended with suicides by the subjects whom police were confronting.

North Las Vegas saw two officer-involved shootings last year, one of which was fatal. Henderson saw three, two of which were fatal.

In 2017, a combination of 28 different Las Vegas police officers opened fire 22 different times, tying the amount of Las Vegas police shootings in 2018. Two of those officers in 2017 were injured but survived — one was shot, another fell while responding to the initial call.

The year prior, Metro saw a total of 10 officer-involved shootings, and in 2015, Metro saw 16.

In the wake of a Review-Journal investigation into Las Vegas police shootings in 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice investigated Metro for about eight months.

The resulting investigation in 2012 revealed that Metro had few internal mechanisms to recognize shooting trends and hold officers accountable for their actions. The investigation also found that Metro’s training was inconsistent, so the agency proposed a series of 75 recommendations for change.

“Since then, we have been proactive about analyzing our use of force,” Prosser said last week. “We are trying to learn from every single incident, seeing if there’s something we could have done differently with our officer approach.”

In January 2017, the Justice Department largely praised Metro for its “notable and sustained efforts” to reduce its number of police shootings and increase its transparency and engagement with the community.

That year, 10 of the 22 people shot by Metro officers would die from their injuries.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Rio Lacanlale contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Bel Air Drive Officer Involved Shooting Presser - Video
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly goes over the officer-involved shooting on Bel Air Drive.
Former Las Vegas police officer get 25 life sentences for sexually abusing child
Former Las Vegas Police officer Bret Theil was sentences to 25 consecutive life sentences at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, May 15, 2019, for sexually abusing a child over a decade. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Man pushed off bus in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police arrested 25-year-old Cadesha Bishop on May 6, after she allegedly pushed Serge Fournier, 74, off of a parked bus near Fremont Street and 13th Street about 4:50 p.m. March 21.(Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
$1 million bail set for mother charged with drowning 2-year-old daughter
The 44-year-old mother who police say drowned her 2-year-old daughter in a bathtub in a northeast Las Vegas apartment on Saturday made her first court appearance on Tuesday, May 14th.
Officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child appears in court
Matthew James Terry, a Las Vegas police officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child, appears in court Monday morning, May 13, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seek hit-and-run driver
A motorcycle officer pulled over a Mercedes SUV, and after the officer came to a stop, it shifted into reverse, intentionally hitting the officer.
Thedrick Andres becomes Henderson Police Department acting chief
Henderson Police Department Acting Chief Thedrick Andres speaks about his goals in his new position at the Henderson Police headquarters, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2 dead, 1 wounded after east valley neighborhood shooting
One man and one woman are dead and another man wounded after a shooting Thursday afternoon in an east valley neighborhood.
Bail denied for former police detective charged with murder
Bail was denied Tuesday for former Metropolitan Police Department detective, Pamela Rene Bordeaux who is accused of fatally shooting her daughter’s ex-husband during supervised visitation with his child.
Third suspect in death of California doctor appears in court
The third and final suspect in the killing of a California doctor, Jon Kennison, 27, appears in court Friday, April 19, 2019. Kennison, Kelsey Nichole Turner, a former model, and Diana Pena, face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Richard Cleaves of Pahrump arrested in burglary on former Binion property
Updated press release regarding burglary on a former Binion property: Richard Cleaves, 56 of Pahrump, has been arrested on a warrant for burglary, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, and destruction of property. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Judge denies bail for suspect charged in the killing of California doctor
Diana Pena, one of three people charged in the killing of a California doctor, is being held without bail after her fingerprints were found on the car where Dr. Thomas Burchard's body was discovered.
Ex-NFL player and girlfriend held without bail in child’s death
Former professional football player Cierre Wood and his girlfriend, Amy Taylor, face charges of murder and child abuse in the death of Taylor's 5-year-old daughter. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP identifies man who was shot by trooper on Mount Charleston
Nevada Highway Patrol updates the media on the April 2, 2019 officer involved shooting on Mount Charleston. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas court grants '90 Day Fiancé' defendant continuance
"90 Day Fiance" stars Colt Johnson and his mother Debra left the Las Vegas Justice Center Thursday, after the court granted Larissa dos Santos Lima a continuance in her misdemeanor case, in which she is accused of domestic violence against Colt. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Details released on in-custody death
Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank addresses media about details of an in-custody death at Clark County Detention Center on March 31. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man hurt in shooting with Nevada troopers at Mount Charleston
A man was injured in a shooting involving Nevada Highway Patrol troopers Tuesday afternoon at Mount Charleston on state Route 157 near Echo Trail. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer wounds inmate during escape attempt
An officer fired on an inmate who stole a vehicle and tried to flee, ramming several cars and leading officers on a chase until he ran out of gas.
Man fatally shot during a 'beer skip'
A store clerk is being questioned after a man was fatally shot during a robbery at a gas station Friday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Las Vegas police give details on fatal shooting
Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer gives a briefing on a fatal shooting near downtown Las Vegas that occurred on March 27, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas community pays tribute to boy killed by car
The community joined friends and family at Wilbur & Theresa Faiss Park, Wednesday evening, to remember the boy who was struck and killed by a car crossing South Fort Apache Road from Faiss Park, near West Maule Avenue, on Monday. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Person of Interest Found For Downtown Las Vegas Bar - Video
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is seeking help to find a person of interest in a potential homicide case at a bar in downtown Las Vegas.
Metro briefs media on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Police address media about officer-involved shooting that started on Maryland and Vegas Valley, and concluded downtown, near the Golden Nugget.
Update on OIS at Vegas Valley and Maryland
The incident began at the Steinberg Diagnostic Medical parking lot and ended downtown.
Amy And Spencer Powell Recount Hit And Run
Amy Powell and her son Spencer recount the day Spencer was hit by a truck while riding his bike. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah arrested in Amarillo, TX
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah was arrested in Amarillo, TX on a Nye County warrant for open murder, burglary, obtaining money under false pretense, use of credit card w/o owner consent, and destruction of evidence. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Metro Presser For OIS 6 (Full)
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Metro Presser For OIS 6
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Domestic disturbance call ends in suicide
A man died by suicide after police tried negotiating with him outside of his ex-girlfriend’s home on March 13. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by Las Vegas police
A 20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by a Las Vegas officer on Saturday night is also accused of burglarizing a Boys & Girls Club minutes before the shooting.
Metro briefing on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Kelly McMahill briefs the media on a officer-involved shooting near Ninth Street and Bonanza Road on March 19, 2019. Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man robs restaurant with large kitchen knife
On March 16, 2019, at approximately 6:00 PM, an armed robbery occurred at a local restaurant located near East Charleston and Eastern. The suspect entered the business with a large knife, demanding money from the registers. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Commercial Robbery On 3000 Block Of North Las Vegas Blvd - VIDEO
On February 19th, 2019, at approximately 10:23 am, a robbery occurred to a business located on the 3000 block of North Las Vegas Boulevard. The pictured suspect entered the business, approached the counter and pointed a firearm at the victim demanding money. The victim complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.
DEA Launches New Program To Combat Opioid Epidemic
The Drug Enforcement Administration is launching a new effort in Nevada to combat the opioid epidemic.