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Metro: 2 officers fired 19 rounds at armed suspect

Updated February 8, 2024 - 5:38 pm

The names of two Metropolitan Police Department officers who fatally shot a suspect Tuesday in central Las Vegas were released Thursday along with more details about the shooting.

The officers fired a combined 19 rounds, killing the armed man early Tuesday outside an apartment complex near East Sahara Avenue, Assistant Sheriff Yasenia Yatomi said during a Thursday news conference at Metro headquarters.

Officers Wesley Merren and Jae Maston, both two-year veterans, shot their firearms at Lee Derek Larson, 46, who died at the scene in the 2500 block of Sherwood Street, she said.

“This is officer-involved shooting No. 1 for 2024, the first fatal shooting of the year,” Yatomi said. “At the same time in 2023, we had no officer-involved shootings.”

The department showed video clips from officers’ body cameras and from an air unit showing Larson standing next to an apartment building holding a gun in his right hand.

In the bodycam footage, officers are heard yelling at Larson to drop the gun, and after one officer fired, Larson is heard screaming in pain before the second officer also shot him.

The shooting occurred after an unnamed police officer, driving his patrol car in the area of Liberace Way and Sherwood Street, received a call about a suspicious vehicle at approximately 1:47 a.m.

The officer noticed two people seated inside a Jeep Liberty and made a U-turn to investigate, Yatomi said.

As the officer drove up to the Jeep, he saw the driver, later identified as Larson, back the vehicle up and strike an unoccupied parked vehicle, Yatomi said.

The officer witnessed Larson and the second person get out to inspect the damage. He then he turned on his emergency lights and ordered the pair to come to the front of the patrol car. Larson then fled on foot, Yatomi said.

As the officer pursued Larson, the suspect pointed a Polymer80 9 mm handgun at him at which time the officer called for assistance and reported the suspect was armed, the assistant sheriff said.

The officer observed Larson run into an alley of the Sherwood Street apartment complex where the air unit located him standing and “casing” the area with the gun in his hand, Yatomi said.

Merren, 37, and Maston 29, arrived at the alley where Merren then ordered Larson to drop the weapon, and after Larson did not comply, the officer fired his Glock 17 9 mm handgun eight times, striking Larson, who was still alive but did not fire his gun, she said.

Maston, armed with a .223 caliber rifle, also fired a total of 11 rounds at Larson, who died, according to Yatomi.

Larson’s gun had one round loaded in the chamber and 10 more in the magazine, she said.

Had Larson survived, he would have been charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a protected person and one count each of resisting with a weapon and possession of a weapon by a prohibited person, Yatomi said.

Contact Jeff Burbank at jburbank@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0382. Follow him @JeffBurbank2 on X. Review-Journal digital content producer Tony Garcia contributed to this report.

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