65°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Las Vegas police say Bellagio robber had previously held up resort — VIDEO

Updated March 18, 2019 - 5:43 pm

A man shot to death by a Las Vegas police officer after an armed robbery Friday night at the Bellagio is believed to have previously robbed the resort, police said Monday.

Assistant Clark County Sheriff Charles Hank said investigators have linked the man, Michael Charles Cohen, 49, of Las Vegas, to a 2017 robbery of the poker cage at the Bellagio.

At a news briefing Monday, Hank called Cohen “a brazen criminal that showed no regard for his victims” and who was “willing to use deadly force on a police officer in order to make his escape.”

He said officers connected Cohen to the 2017 robbery through bandages applied to the left side of his face during both crimes. Hank also said Cohen was wearing the same hoodie, glasses and black beanie in both.

“We’re relatively certain that he is … the same suspect from 2017,” Hank said.

The Clark County coroner’s office on Monday identified Cohen and ruled that he died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Hank said officers were at the casino investigating a missing persons case when an armed man approached the poker cage about 9:45 p.m. and demanded money. As a result, they quickly issued a radio alert indicating that the man had fled with cash and poker chips to a valet area of the hotel nearest Flamingo Boulevard.

Hank said it was unclear how much money Cohen had taken.

Valet confrontation

In the valet area, Cohen tried to steal an unoccupied Mercedes parked there but could not find the keys, Hank said. He then approached a locked BMW that had a woman at the wheel. After trying to get in the car, he brandished a handgun.

Officers in the valet area saw Cohen accosting the woman just as they heard a radio broadcast of the robbery and quickly realized he was the suspect.

They ordered him to the ground, but he refused, instead stepping back from the car and firing one round from a Bodyguard .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun at the officers, Hank said. The shot hit an officer in the chest.

But it was a glancing blow, and the officer, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was not seriously injured, he said.

Photos of the officer’s vest and shirt showed other holes from bullet fragments and the bullet’s path across the vest, Hank said.

Cohen ran across the valet lanes, and officer Joaquin Escobar fired a shot that struck Cohen in the head, Hank said.

Escobar, 29, has been with the department for two years and was placed on routine paid administrative leave pending a review of the shooting, Hank said.

Cohen was pronounced dead at University Medical Center at 3:17 a.m. Saturday.

Extensive criminal history

“We’re fortunate that our officer’s vest stopped that round. This could have been very tragic for both our officers, as well as citizens or even that lady that was in her car,” Hank said. “I’m just very grateful that our officers were present and took the action that they did, and that they’re OK and that the community members and visitors of the community were OK.”

Cohen had an extensive criminal history, Hank said, with bank robbery convictions in 1999 and 2008.

He also had arrests for kidnapping, carjacking, possession of narcotics paraphernalia possession of stolen property and other misdemeanor and traffic charges.

Had he survived, he would have been charged with attempted murder on a protected person, two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm, burglary with a firearm, attempted grand larceny of an auto with a firearm and carrying a concealed weapon, Hank said.

This marks Metro’s fourth officer involved shooting this year.

Contact Rachel Spacek at 702-387-2921 or rspacek@reviewjournal.com. Follow @RachelSpacek on Twitter. Contact Briana Erickson at 702-387-5244 or berickson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Lukas Eggen contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Las Vegas rejects arguments to throw out the death penalty - VIDEO
A Las Vegas rejected arguments Tuesday from lawyers for Alonso Perez, a man facing three murder charges, who asked to throw out the death penalty. (Michael Quine)
CCSD police on the arrest of Deamonte Warren - VIDEO
CCSD police arrested Chaparral High School custodian Deamonte Warren on Friday on three counts of a school employee having sex with a student and an additional count of providing alcohol to a minor. (Courtesy CCSD Police)
Woman charged with sex trafficking an 11-year-old girl on the Strip (Michael Quine)
Gigi Mitchell faces seven felony charges including sex trafficking and child abuse for bringing an 11-year-old girl to the Las Vegas Strip to work as a prostitute.
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
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.
THE LATEST