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Las Vegas police kill knife-wielding man holding woman hostage

Las Vegas police shot and killed a man holding a woman at knife-point Friday morning.

The shooting happened about 7:45 a.m. near Siegel Suites in the 3800 block of Cambridge Street, near the intersection of Maryland Parkway and Flamingo Road.

Two officers fired at the suspect, who was not identified. He died at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

Police said the man was refusing to vacate his Siegel Suites room. As management attempted to evict him, he took a woman hostage outside the complex.

The man was holding two knives at the victim’s throat, police said.

Several witnesses said they heard four gunshots but didn’t see the shooting.

Deputy Chief Kathy O’Connor, who oversees the Investigative Services Division, said the officers were at a nearby community-policing event when they were told about a man refusing to leave the complex.

The man had threatened Siegel Suites’ management that he would take hostages if it tried to evict him, she said.

After a short chase on Cambridge Street, the man grabbed an elderly woman and put the knives to her neck. The officers felt they needed to fire to protect the woman, who did not know the man, O’Connor said. “They felt her life was in danger,” she said.

The woman was visibly shaken as she sat on the sidewalk about an hour after the shooting. Police said she was upset but unharmed.

The officers who fired their weapons were placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting. Their names will be released 48 hours after the incident, per department policy.

The Clark County coroner’s office will release the dead man’s name after his family has been notified.

The shooting by Las Vegas police was the second of the week and eighth of the year.

On Monday, police shot and killed Ronald James Morrison after he brandished a weapon about 3 p.m. outside the Ross Dress for Less store, 2420 E. Desert Inn Road, near Eastern Avenue.

Morrison, 52, was shot by officers Michael Henry, 41, Samantha Wimmer, 24, and Michele Iacullo, 33.

Morrison was suspected of shooting a man shortly before his confrontation with police.

The victim in the earlier shooting had been struck in the hand and was expected to recover.

The eight police shootings this year were significantly less than the past few years.

The lower number is partially the result of a new use of force policy started earlier this year to reduce shootings and improve the department’s relationship with the community, O’Connor said.

The policy, which emphasizes that officers “respect the value of every human life” and advises officers to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations, is part of a six-month review by the agency in the wake of several controversial shootings and an investigative series by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Las Vegas police came under scrutiny after a series of high-profile shootings in 2010 and 2011, including the deaths of Trevon Cole and Stanley Gibson, who both were unarmed.

Cole was shot by an officer during a botched drug raid. Gibson died after a miscommunication by officers led to one firing several times with a rifle into the Gulf War veteran’s vehicle.

In 2010 and 2011, Las Vegas police had a combined 43 on-duty shootings.

Las Vegas police killed a record 12 people in 2011.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

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