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Henderson police officer who killed man has domestic battery arrest

Updated June 27, 2023 - 1:19 pm

The Henderson police officer who shot a man dead on Saturday after police said the man held a gun to his own head and then pointed the firearm at officers was arrested on domestic violence charges in 2019 in a case that was ultimately dismissed.

The Henderson Police Department said in a news release Monday that Officer Tyler Travers shot and killed Steven Brucker, 53.

The incident began to unfold at about 7:10 a.m. Saturday when officers were told by a caller that a man had stolen from a store in the 200 block of West Sunset Road, at North Boulder Highway, at about 7:10 a.m. Officers were told the man was at a nearby bus stop.

When officers arrived at the bus stop, the man later identified as Brucker became “immediately uncooperative” and pulled out a gun, which he “pointed and placed up to the side of his head,” police said in the news release.

Brucker, still holding the gun, “moved eastbound through the desert area located just behind the bus stop” with officers following him. It wasn’t clear if he was running or walking.

Police said officers were trying to de-escalate the situation. Police said Travers shot Brucker when Brucker pointed his gun at police.

“As Brucker crossed Sunset Road and approached the front office entry of the business located at 1940 N. Boulder Highway, Brucker pointed his firearm towards officers, resulting in one officer firing upon Brucker striking him,” the police statement said.

“Officers began life saving measures until Brucker was transported to an area hospital where he succumbed to his injuries,” police said.

First police shooting of 2023

It was the first police shooting of 2023 for the Henderson Police Department, police said. But it’s not the first death involving the department this year.

In May, Henderson police also announced that the March 27 death of a man who had been tased by Henderson police officers and who then spent six days in the Henderson Detention Center had been ruled a homicide by the Clark County coroner’s office.

In the case, Ronald Winborne, 53, died of complications from a clavicular fracture, or fractured collarbone. Earlier this month, Henderson police ruled officers were justified in their use of force against Winborne, who had been wielding a butter knife.

Travers was arrested on suspicion of domestic battery on Dec. 19, 2019, after an alleged victim — whom the Review-Journal has chosen not to identify — alleged he grabbed her and pulled her hair during an argument, according to a Henderson police arrest report.

Travers, 33, was hired by Henderson police in December 2017 and was a Henderson police officer at the time, as he still is.

Allegations of ‘anger issues’

The woman also alleged Travers had battered her the night before, and in the past, including about two months earlier. She told police in December 2019 that she had lied about the incident in October to police in order to protect Travers, according to the December 2019 arrest report.

The woman also told officers she wanted to get Travers help for his “anger issues.”

Travers “denied ever using willful force against (the woman),” according to the report.

A Henderson detective summarized the woman’s allegations in the arrest report as a “pattern of increasing violence between her and Tyler” and wrote that while both Travers and the woman both alleged domestic violence against the other, he determined Travers to have been the primary physical aggressor. Travers was arrested.

At the time, the Henderson Municipal Court and Henderson Police Department both denied multiple requests by the Review-Journal for the arrest report despite the routine release of the same reports for anyone else. After the Review-Journal published a story about the denials, the report was released.

The day of the arrest, Henderson Police Chief Thedrick Andres said Travers’ firearm and “credentials” were taken away and that Travers was put on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an administrative investigation. It wasn’t immediately clear what happened between this and whenTravers returned to active duty.

The domestic battery case was ultimately dismissed before trial, according to Henderson Municipal Court records.

Police said Monday that Travers works in the Field Operations Bureau.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com. Review-Journal staff writer Briana Erickson contributed to this story.

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