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Man fatally shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say — VIDEO

Updated December 4, 2018 - 6:16 pm

Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday had a “homemade knife.”

Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.

Bruning’s body-camera footage, released at a news conference Tuesday, showed him notifying police dispatch that Boyd was driving an unregistered vehicle. Bruning then told Boyd to step out of the car.

Boyd reached for a “large, bulky item in his waistband,” Metropolitan Police Capt. Jamie Prosser said Saturday. Police later found that the item, which was dropped during a struggle between Boyd and Bruning, was a “homemade knife” in “what appeared to be a homemade, makeshift sheath,” Clark County Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman said Tuesday.

After Bruning told Boyd to step out of the car and move away from it, Boyd told the officer his knife was a battery pack. After ignoring commands not to reach for his waistband, Bruning tried to handcuff Boyd, Zimmerman said.

The officer’s body camera showed Boyd asking Bruning, “What are you doing?” and saying, “Let go of me.” During the struggle, the body camera shifted and blocked the view of the majority of the fight.

Bruning then used his stun gun on Boyd and yelled, “Get your hands out of your pockets; get down on the ground.”

Boyd lay on the ground partially under the car for about about 30 seconds before standing up, the video showed. Bruning once again told Boyd to get on the ground before saying, “Don’t you dare. I’m going to shoot you. I’m going to shoot you.”

Bruning fired his handgun twice, hitting Boyd both times, Zimmerman said. While the fight was obscured in the footage, Zimmerman said Boyd had tried to grab Bruning’s stun gun before he was shot.

Boyd’s knife was dropped during the fight, and Bruning was not hurt, Zimmerman said. He said Bruning believed he was in danger because Boyd continued to reach for his waistband.

“At the end, he was right; his senses were right,” Zimmerman said. “There was a knife there.”

During the fight, Bruning called for backup, and another officer arrived right as Boyd was shot, Zimmerman said.

He said the prongs of Bruning’s stun gun were found in Boyd’s clothing. Stun guns can be ineffective against thick clothing, he said.

“We may say it’s ineffective, but I don’t know if our officer out there at the scene realizes it was ineffective at the time, considering Boyd is under the vehicle,” Zimmerman said.

Boyd was pulled over for reckless driving because he was committing various traffic violations, such as speeding and rapidly changing lanes, Zimmerman said. Bruning pursued Boyd on his motorcycle for blocks before Boyd stopped the car, which Boyd said belonged to his cousin, according to the video.

Zimmerman said the car belonged to one of Boyd’s relatives with whom he was staying. Boyd had a record of felonies, including carjacking and evading an officer, from California in 2007. He also had arrests for drug offenses, carjacking, burglary and firing into an inhabited building, all in California from 2000 to 2018.

Boyd’s only prior contact with Metro was over misdemeanor traffic charges. Bruning had not been involved in prior police shootings. He has worked at the department since January 2005, police said.

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Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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