Metro officer who killed homicide suspect was part of Mandalay Bay breach

Updated November 9, 2017 - 7:41 pm

One of the two Las Vegas officers who shot and killed a double homicide suspect early Tuesday was also one of the officers who breached the Mandalay Bay gunman’s hotel room late Oct. 1.

The officer, Levi Hancock, 43, has been with the department since January 2001. In a statement Thursday, the Metropolitan Police Department said Hancock is assigned to the Homeland Security division of the department’s SWAT unit.

Police said Hancock and Kai Hoskins, 32, also assigned to SWAT unit, shot and killed a murder suspect after an hourslong barricade outside a west valley home. Metro said Hancock and a third officer involved in Tuesday morning’s breaching of the bedroom where they found the suspect, K-9 Sgt. Joshua Bitsko, were also both on the team that breached a mass shooter’s hotel suite at Mandalay Bay on Oct. 1.

“It just happened to be those two officers,” Metro Deputy Chief Chris Jones said.

Three days after the mass shooting, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo identified Hancock to President Donald Trump during the president’s brief visit to Metro headquarters.

“Officer Hancock there at the end, to your right there — he was the first SWAT officer to engage the individual,” Lombardo told the president, according to a White House transcript from the Oct. 4 visit.

On Tuesday, police killed murder suspect Jarrett Blakely Varnado following a standoff that began about 1:50 p.m. Monday, when a man was found dead near a flower bed in front of a home at 7383 Newcrest Circle, near Flamingo Road and Tenaya Way. Another man was found dead inside the home on the cul-de-sac, police said. The dead men were in their 40s or 50s and roommates, police said Monday.

Police called for SWAT about 9 p.m. Monday. About 2:20 a.m. Tuesday, Varnado was killed in his next-door home after police said he aimed a firearm at officers. Police identified him as a suspect in the two deaths based on a previous ongoing issue he had with the two men, Deputy Chief Chris Jones said. Inside Varnado’s garage, police found a car belonging to one of the two men killed with Varnado’s license plates.

Jones said Varnado would have faced two murder charges and other counts had he survived the shooting.

On Thursday, Jones said Varnado repeatedly refused commands to exit a bedroom and ignored a recorded plea from Varnado’s mother asking him to leave. Jones said these tactics failed and officers sent in a robot and a police dog to search the house.

Police said they later broke down a bedroom door and sent in the service dog. When the dog failed to return after several minutes, officers entered the room and found Varnado on top of the dog, fighting the animal. The officers and the dog were not injured.

At that moment, Varnado rolled over and pointed a replica handgun at SWAT officers. Hancock and Hoskins opened fire, striking Varnado twice, police said. Police later determined the gun he pointed was a BB gun and Varnado had a real, loaded gun underneath him.

Body-worn camera footage played at the briefing showed the officers entering a dark, cluttered room and finding the dog with Varnado.

One of the officers, who Metro spokesman Jay Rivera said was Hoskins, fired once. Police yelled “Suspect down! Suspect down!” and Varnado continued to struggle. A moment later, Hancock fired the second shot, police said.

The footage showed an officer at one point pushing away Varnado’s hand, which was raised and held the replica gun. Jones said that officer was Bitsko, the K-9 sergeant.

This is Metro’s 20th police shooting this year.

Hancock and Hoskins have been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending a review of the Tuesday shooting. Hancock wasn’t placed on leave after the Oct. 1 shooting, Jones said Thursday. It wasn’t clear whether the same was true for Bitsko.

CBS’ “60 Minutes” previously reported Hancock was armed with explosives and blew open the door to gunman Stephen Paddock’s 32nd-floor room at Mandalay Bay. Bitsko told “60 Minutes” he was training dogs before the shooting. He responded and called the breach team’s efforts to find Paddock “a deadly game of hide and seek,” according to the CBS program.

Last week, Lombardo confirmed at least one responding officer accidentally discharged his weapon inside the shooter’s suite shortly after breaching the room. The sheriff did not name the officer but clarified that the gun went off in a room separate from where gunman Stephen Paddock was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The county coroner has still not released an official cause and manner of death for Paddock.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter. Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-8301. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter. Contact Briana Erickson at berickson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5244. Follow @brianarerick on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
Mojave Max at Springs Preserve
File footage of Mojave Max at Springs Preserve. (Springs Preserve)
Crime
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
LVMPD Looking For Robbery Suspect
The LVMPD Commercial Robbery Section is attempting to identify the pictured suspect who is responsible for committing robberies to businesses in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley during the month of May 2018. The suspect enters the business, threatens the employee with a firearm and demands money from the register. The employee complies and the suspect flees the business.
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead
North Las Vegas police are investigating a triple shooting that left one man dead at 2500 block of Ellis St., on Friday, June 8, 2018. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
1 dead in shooting at southwest Las Vegas home
A dispute between roommates led to the fatal shooting of one man in the backyard of their southwest Las Vegas Valley home on Monday, April 23, 2018. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Henderson Police Seek Armed Bank Robbery Suspect
This afternoon a male suspect entered the Bank of America, located at 2638 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway, at about 12:40 p.m. As he entered the bank, he pulled a black mask down to conceal his face.The suspect is described as a late-forties to early-fifties white male adult, approximately 5 foot 8 inches to 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighing approximately 160 to 180 pounds He was last seen wearing a dark colored beanie, a grayish blue plaid shirt, dark jeans and dark colored shoes. His head was shaved on the sides and the top of his hair was dark in color. Vehicle was described as possibly a gray 2012-2014 four door Ford Focus. The license plates were covered with black tape. The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. Do not attempt to contact the suspect but call police immediately. Anyone with information is urged to call the Henderson Police Department at 702-267-4911, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.
Sunset Park Homicide (update 2)
LVMPD gives update about suspect in homicide at Sunset Park (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide (update)
Update from LVMPD on Sunset Park homicide. Releasing suspect's name (Blake Apgar)
Sunset Park Homicide
Police give details about Sunset Park homicide on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (Blake Apgar)
Security guard thwarts mailbox vandals
A security guard at the Covington at Coronado Ranch apartment complex ended up in the hospital after thwarting a group of mailbox vandals on Monday morning. According to Las Vegas police, about 12:45 a.m. the guard saw a group of people trying to break into mailboxes at the central Las Vegas complex when he confronted them. The group jumped into a vehicle and while trying to flee, struck the guard. The guard was hospitalized with injures that were not life-threatening. The suspects fled and remain at-large.
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Authorities are looking for three men who police said used a weapon on their victims in a recent string of robberies across the Las Vegas Valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Las Vegas police looking for robbery suspects
Authorities are looking for three men who police said used a weapon on their victims in a recent string of robberies across the Las Vegas Valley. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Metro investigates an officer-involved shooting in east Las Vegas
Las Vegas police investigate an officer-involved shooting at Madge Lane and Mabel Road, between Charleston Boulevard and Stewart Avenue, Friday, April 6, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Robbery Surveillance Video
Police are searching for a man suspected of robbing two Las Vegas clothing stores in one week.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like