Updated February 8, 2021 - 6:49 pm
The man fatally shot outside of a south valley gun range last week had tried to steal a weapon from a customer before officers arrived, Las Vegas police said Monday.
Seconds after police pulled up, the man allegedly attacked them with a screwdriver, injuring one and prompting the other — and three gun range employees — to open fire.
“Their involvement actually helped our officer and could have saved our officer’s life,” Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman said Monday during a news conference on the shooting.
Officers were called at 11:59 a.m. to The Range 702, at 5999 Dean Martin Drive, after an employee reported that the man, Marvon Payton Jr., had been caught rifling through a customer’s bag during a break for a class on concealed carry weapons permits, Zimmerman said.
Police presented surveillance footage Monday that showed Payton sitting at a table in the classroom, hunched over a bag, and two men in the classroom approaching him. The owner of the bag stopped Payton from taking the gun, Zimmerman said.
Police said employees escorted Payton, 27, out of the business and waited on arriving officers.
At 12:27 p.m., someone from the business called police again, Zimmerman said, reporting that Payton had become “aggressive” and “had threatened the employees.”
Officers pulled into the range parking lot at 12:47 p.m. and ordered Payton to the front of their patrol vehicle.
“Mr. Payton ignored those instructions and started to walk away while hiding his right hand in his jacket pocket,” Zimmerman said.
Police said they then tried multiple times to grab Payton, but he pulled away and used a screwdriver to attack the officers, stabbing one.
Zimmerman said Payton had a violent history with police, including charges of attempted murder, attempted robbery of a firearm and assault on a protected person.
“And all of those incidents were violence against the police,” Zimmerman said.
Carla Alston, director of Metro’s public information office, said arriving officers had knowledge of Payton’s violent past before the shooting.
Surveillance video presented Monday showed Payton swinging the screwdriver at both officers, striking one. As that officer stumbled to the ground, her partner, officer Andrew Nguyen, 34, and three range employees opened fire, fatally striking Payton. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Zimmerman said Nguyen fired nine rounds. It’s unclear how many rounds the employees fired, but Zimmerman said Payton was shot 14 times.
The injured officer, who has not been named, was treated and released from University Medical Center the afternoon of the shooting. She suffered a fracture near her eye, Zimmerman said.
None of the three civilians who opened fire has been named. It remains unclear if they will face any charges in the shooting.
Nguyen is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a review.