A 39-year-old man shot by a Las Vegas police officer on Friday had abducted another man at gunpoint prior to the shooting, an official announced Monday.
A Chevrolet SUV pulled into a Rebel gas station lot about 9:40 p.m. at West Sahara Avenue and South Hualapai Way while honking its horn, Clark County Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman said at a Monday news conference. Its driver stopped the car, got out, and ran away yelling “he has a gun,” he said.
The SUV passenger, a pistol in hand, placed it in his waistband and walked north toward the Dotty’s in the same shopping complex, prompting a call to the Metropolitan Police Department about a man with a gun, Zimmerman said.
About 15 minutes later, Metro officer Daniel Kranjcevich spotted someone matching the armed man’s description leaving the business, chased the man and fired five rounds at him after he raised his gun and tossed it over a wall and then reached for his waistband.
What police would later determine is that the man they shot, Joseph Delucco Jr., had abducted the SUV driver who escaped the gas station, Zimmerman said.
“We didn’t know that the robbery had also occurred, but after doing the total investigation, we were able to put it all together and realize that’s what started it,” Zimmerman said.
During their investigation into the shooting, detectives found the SUV driver and learned that he had met Delucco earlier in the evening and, at some point, Delucco drew a gun and demanded the cash from his wallet, Zimmerman said. The man had no cash, he said, so Delucco told the man to drive him to an ATM and hand over $600.
The driver saw that the Rebel station was well-lit and had other people around, so he pulled in and used it as his chance to escape, he said.
“The victim did well on this one,” Zimmerman said.
Kranjcevich’s body camera footage showed him briefly chasing Delucco to an area near a wall, yelling for him to show his hands.
Delucco raised his gun in the air and tossed it over a wall, and Kranjcevich fired once at him.
“Get on the ground. Freeze!” Kranjcevich commanded.
Delucco dropped to his knees and put his hand on his waistband, prompting Kranjcevich to fire four more times at Delucco.
Delucco was hospitalized at University Medical Center with four gunshot wounds and booked in absentia into the Clark County Detention Center. He faces counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping with a deadly weapon, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person.
Kranjcevich, 42, has been with Metro since May 2016 and is assigned to the Spring Valley Area Command. He was placed on administrative leave pending a review of the shooting, per department policy.
It was Metro’s 10th police shooting and its seventh nonfatal shooting this year.
Delucco has a status check scheduled for Tuesday in Las Vegas Justice Court, according to court records.