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Deputy constable arrested after firing at shoplifters, police say

Updated November 29, 2023 - 7:12 pm

An off-duty Laughlin deputy constable has been arrested in connection with a June shooting at a Henderson grocery store — an incident first reported in a Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation.

Craig Dahlheimer, 64, turned himself in and faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse, discharging a gun into an occupied vehicle and using his law enforcement powers to threaten force, Henderson police announced Tuesday.

Dahlheimer opened fire on a group he thought was stealing alcohol at the Vons Grocery Store at 2511 Anthem Village Drive, police record shows. He also held a bystander, who had no involvement in the alleged theft, at gunpoint, a police report from the June 15 shooting states.

Dahlheimer said he was trying to stop a crime.

“Why is it that these kids didn’t come forward until November?” he responded to the Review-Journal when reached by phone Tuesday. “If the kids were innocent and didn’t go into Vons to commit a burglary — which is what they did — if they were innocent, why didn’t they come forward?”

Dahlheimer, who served legal papers and enforced civil orders, was suspended immediately after Laughlin Constable Jordan Ross learned of the incident.

“We run a very tight ship, and for something like this to happen was almost mind-boggling to me,” Ross previously told the Review-Journal. “It’s really frustrating to see years of work and maintaining really strict discipline put at risk because of this.”

Dahlheimer identified himself as an off-duty police officer when he spotted the theft, the report said. He told Henderson police, who responded after the shooting, that he tried to stop the suspected thieves as they left the store without paying for $65 worth of Twisted Tea.

Dahlheimer said he commanded: “Police, stop.” But the group continued walking.

Dahlheimer, a former military police officer, followed the suspects into the parking lot, where they got into a silver or gray car and sped toward him, according to the report. In fear of getting hit, Dahlheimer told police that he brandished his weapon and shot one round at the ground toward the fleeing car.

He then pointed his gun at another man outside the store and told him to get on the ground before realizing he was not involved, the report states. The report did not name that person, and the man left before police arrived.

Police in September said they were searching for the silver Honda Civic that was shot at with four white males inside. This month, they announced that they were looking for a white male in his late teens to early 20s.

Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @ByBrianaE on X. Erickson is a member of the Review-Journal’s investigative team, focusing on reporting that holds leaders and agencies accountable and exposes wrongdoing.

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