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Man with rifle shot, killed by police in his own yard, neighbors say

Updated September 28, 2022 - 9:27 am

A North Las Vegas police officer shot an AR-15-wielding man dead in his own backyard this weekend after authorities said a neighbor called 911 to report someone apparently trying to break into a home.

Darin Dyer, 38, was killed Saturday night in the 4300 block of Westmere Avenue less than 15 minutes after police arrived at his home, according to Sgt. Jeff Wall, who identified Paul Sanderson as the officer who shot Dyer.

In two initial email news releases and a video about the shooting, police did not name Dyer or indicate that he was on his property when he was killed.

Police said a 911 caller told them that “an unknown man in his 20s was in his backyard with a long metal pole,” and he “seemed to be drunk or on drugs.”

Before the 911 call came in, Dyer and the caller had exchanged hostile words, according to police and a neighbor. In a statement issued by Wall, police said Dyer “challenged him (the caller) by asking if he wanted to die.”

Wall said Dyer was armed with an AR-15 and “belligerent” when officers arrived. He never told them he lived at the house, Wall said, despite plenty of opportunity.

“The guy responded in a very aggressive manner,” Wall said of Dyer.

It was unclear why Dyer was armed with an AR-15, Wall said.

In the days after the killing, a woman in the Valley Vista community where the shooting occurred said “everybody’s on edge” since the incident.

“Because they feel like it shouldn’t have happened and that things could’ve de-escalated in a different way,” Alana McAllister said.

McAllister, 41, whose backyard faces Dyer’s home, said she would occasionally say hello to him, but she did not know him personally.

On Saturday night, she saw him dead on the ground in his backyard. She said she heard and saw some of the circumstances that led to the shooting from her home but didn’t witness the whole situation.

McAllister also said she wasn’t critical of police for the response, but she was baffled as to why the other neighbor called 911 in the first place.

According to McAllister, there had been a backyard pool party with adults and children at Dyer’s house. The party had wound down, with everyone going back inside. There wasn’t a lot of noise.

But she said that after what sounded like a quarrel, the man might have been locked out of his house by the people inside. She heard a clanging noise, which sounded like the man hitting something with something metal. She thought he might be doing work on his pool, which had earlier been spraying water as if the water line to the pool had broken.

“It’s sad that it ended that way,” said McAllister. “I don’t think he deserved to die in his backyard like that.”

Dyer suffered “at least one gunshot wound,” police said.

Police said the caller dialed 911 at 10:14 p.m. Saturday and reported that someone “appeared to be trying to break into the house.”

“Why he thought that, why he didn’t recognize the guy who lived there, I can’t tell you,” Wall said about the 911 caller.

About three minutes later, officers arrived in the neighborhood.

This is how police described what happened next:

“They located the man, who was armed with a rifle. At about 10:30 pm, officers reported to dispatch that shots had been fired. The suspect sustained at least one gunshot wound. No other person was injured.

“Officers immediately called for medical personnel and attempted life-saving measures. The man was transported by ambulance to UMC Trauma, where he was pronounced deceased.”

Sanderson still has to be interviewed, according to Wall, who said that according to police protocol, officers are given a few days to rest and process the fatal shooting before they are interviewed.

Sanderson, an 18-year veteran of the department, was placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting remained under investigation, Wall said.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com or 561-324-6421. Follow @BrettClarkson_ on Twitter.

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