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Nye County deputy wounded, 19-year-old killed in Pahrump shooting

Updated March 28, 2020 - 11:55 am

The Nye County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of two detectives involved in a shooting that left a 19-year-old suspect dead Wednesday night in Pahrump.

One of the detectives, Brian Cooper, was injured during a gunfire exchange with the suspect just before 10:40 p.m. Wednesday at a house in the 1000 block of Warehouse Road.

Another detective, Logan Gibbs, then fired on the suspect, killing him, according to the sheriff’s office.

The suspect — Matthew Moore of Pahrump — was pronounced dead at the scene, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said in a video statement released Friday.

Cooper is at University Medical Center, “where he’s recovering,” Wehrly said. He has been employed by the Nye County Sheriff’s Department for five years. Gibbs, who has been with the department for 11 years, is on paid leave, which is standard protocol when officers fire their weapons.

Cooper and Gibbs are assigned to the street crimes, narcotics and gang unit, and are members of the special weapons and tactics team.

The shooting took place during the detectives’ investigation into an attempted robbery Wednesday morning, according to Wehrly’s statement.

At 9:43 a.m. Wednesday, dispatchers received a 911 call about a stabbing that had occurred on Surrey Lane in Pahrump. Detectives interviewed a person on the scene and learned the suspect was Moore, Wehrly said.

The investigation indicated that Moore had used a knife to try to rob the victim of the belt he was wearing, Wehrly said. During the robbery attempt, Moore cut the victim on the neck with a knife.

Wehrly said Moore had a “violent criminal history” that included domestic battery, robbery and burglary, and an arrest for robbery.

After learning Moore’s address, Cooper and Gibbs went to the home to interview him about his alleged involvement in the attempted robbery.

Cooper knocked on the front door while Gibbs stood on the north side of the home. Cooper talked with Moore’s mother at the front door.

Moore’s mother told Cooper she had to “put the dogs up and that she would return in a moment,” Wehrly said. Several seconds later, she opened the door again.

As Moore’s mother approached the detective in the doorway, Moore, armed with a shotgun, came up from behind his mother, Wehrly said.

Gunfire exchange

Moore pointed the shotgun at Cooper and fired a round over his mother’s left shoulder, Wehrly said, striking Cooper in the chest. He then fired a second round at Cooper, Wehrly said. Cooper’s ballistic vest was effective in stopping both of the rounds.

Moore fired a third round at Cooper. Cooper returned fire with two rounds from his duty-issued handgun, but it was ineffective in stopping Moore, Wehrly said.

During the exchange of gunfire, Cooper fell and landed on his back on the ground.

“Moore stood over detective Cooper, lying helpless on his back, as Moore racked the fourth round into the chamber of the shotgun and fired it point (blank)at detective Cooper,” Wehrly said in the statement.

Moore racked a fifth round into the shotgun and pointed it at Cooper, Wehrly said, adding Moore appeared to be preparing to shoot.

Before Moore could fire a fifth round, Wehrly said, Gibbs fired his duty-issued handgun at Moore approximately 13 times and struck him about a dozen times, hitting him in the back and arm, and once in the back of the head.

During the investigation, the Nye County Sheriff’s Department determined Moore had several anti-law enforcement posts on his Facebook page, Wehrly said. One of them advocated for shooting law enforcement during a traffic stop.

Mother cooperating

Moore’s mother, “who was also a victim, was extremely cooperative to this investigation,” Wehrly said.

Body-worn camera footage shows the mother begging her son to stop advancing on Cooper, Wehrly said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her family during this trying time.”

Both detectives were wearing body cameras, which were activated, Wehrly said. There’s also video from a nearby home’s surveillance system that captured the shooting.

It was the second officer-involved shooting this year in Nye County.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Dalton LaFerney contributed to this report.

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