Updated January 2, 2018 - 5:28 pm
A man suffered a minor injury after a Las Vegas police officer’s assault rifle discharged on the Strip just more than an hour after tens of thousands of revelers welcomed in 2018.
The officer was moving barricades in front of the Monte Carlo about 1:20 a.m. Monday when the rifle strapped to his body discharged one round, Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said. A police source identified the officer as Albert Beas.
“Gear is what got into the trigger and made it go off,” Metro spokesman Jay Rivera said.
Officers guarding a crowd without intending to use their weapon should not have a round in the chamber, Rivera said.
It is unclear whether the injured man was hit by the bullet or by debris, but the round did ricochet off the ground first, police said. The man was hit in the calf, but he refused medical treatment. Two other people thought they had been struck by something but had no visible injuries.
Officers typically are not placed on leave after what Meltzer called a negligent discharge. The incident is being reviewed in an internal investigation before a determination is made about whether the officer will be disciplined.
Las Vegas Police Protective Association President Steve Grammas said he is unaware of anyone ever being fired for an unintentional discharge.
Metro requires its officers to undergo quarterly firearms training, with every training session being different based on what the department determines needs to be addressed, Rivera said.
Regardless of what else those training sessions address, Rivera said, the same four things are always reviewed. Officers must always treat their firearm as if it is loaded, never point the weapon at something they are not willing to destroy, beware of what is behind and to the sides of the target, and keep their finger off the trigger until they determine a target.