A Las Vegas police sergeant shot three rounds Sunday at a burglary suspect, thinking the walking cane the man had raised at a woman was a hatchet, police announced Wednesday.
Police accused the man, Antonio Andres Torred DeLeon, of attempting to break in to one home, burglarizing the woman’s home and later jumping on the woman, in her 70s.
“DeLeon stood over the woman and raised the cane as if he was about to strike her,” Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly said at a news conference.
The sergeant, Jeffery Blum, fired from 65 feet away, Kelly said.
“His perception was that the individual had a hatchet,” Kelly said. DeLeon did not hit the woman with the cane.
He faces charges of burglary, attempted burglary, battery and destruction of property, court records show. DeLeon does not have a prior criminal history, according to police.
The incident unfolded shortly after 12:05 p.m. Sunday. Multiple residents in the area of Valley View Boulevard and Warm Springs Road called 911 to report a man, later identified by police as DeLeon, had used a decorative brick and a walking cane to break a window and attempt to enter a home in the 3300 block of West Badura Avenue, Kelly said.
The homeowner scared him away, Kelly said, following him as he ran to give a dispatcher updates on his location and his description.
He then entered a home in the 3500 block of West Badura and was confronted by the homeowner, the woman in her 70s, prompting him to run out a rear door, Kelly said. The man then hopped a wall and dropped the cane as he fled. The woman picked it up.
The woman and her daughter, also home at the time, followed and spotted him atop a wall at a nearby address on West Maule Avenue about the same time officers were arriving, Kelly said.
The daughter left to flag down an officer, at which point, Kelly said, DeLeon asked the woman for the cane back. She refused.
Blum, 39, saw DeLeon on the wall and began to approach him. Kelly said DeLeon jumped off the wall and onto the woman, taking away the cane and knocking her to the ground.
Blum’s body-worn camera footage, played at the briefing, showed him near the house’s driveway, speaking into his radio. A woman’s voice could be heard pleading, “He’s got my mom! He’s got my mom.”
Blum ran toward the side of the house.
“Oh, I gotta go. I gotta go!” Blum said into his radio.
As he neared a vehicle and the side of the house, Blum said on his radio that the man had a hatchet and just attacked the woman. The video then shows Blum fire three times in DeLeon’s direction.
“As he’s firing, the suspect’s getting up and going over the wall,” Kelly said. “It was all simultaneous.”
DeLeon, who was not struck by gunfire, leaped up and jumped over the wall and ran.
Blum radioed that he fired his gun and directed the woman’s daughter to help the woman, who was down on the ground at the end of the footage released.
Kelly said a perimeter was set up in the neighborhood, and DeLeon was found shortly afterward with the help of a K-9 unit.
DeLeon was wearing multiple layers of clothing and only suffered a minor scratch from the dog bite, Kelly said. The woman also suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Blum has been placed on paid leave pending a review of his use of force.
Before the start of the press conference, two police accountability activists from the Nevada Cop Block group were cited for trespassing after attempting to attend the conference. One of the two cited was asked to leave the media room, and after he refused, officers handcuffed him and carried him out of the room.
The police shooting was Metro’s second of the year. Its first happened about three days earlier, when a man wanted for attempted murder fired at officers from inside a house. Two SWAT officers returned fire, striking him. The man then shot himself in the head.