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Man, 30, shoots self, dies during police confrontation

A 30-year-old man shot himself with a rifle, taking his life in a weekend incident where he also was shot by an officer, Henderson police said Monday.

Police said the shootings occurred Sunday about 2:20 a.m. at a home at 610 Greenway Road, near College Avenue and East Horizon Drive.

On Monday, the Clark County coroner’s office identified the deceased man as James Heitkotter of Henderson. The coroner’s office had not yet officially determined Heitkotter’s cause of death. A staff member with the office indicated the cause was indeed suicide.

Three officers arrived at the home after receiving a call from a woman who said her husband was fighting with a male roommate.

Officers went upstairs and found Heitkotter in a bedroom with the door closed. Police asked Heitkotter to come out of the room.

He refused.

Officers opened the door and found the man sitting on the bed with a rifle to his head, police said.

Heitkotter refused to put the gun down. Police remained in the hallway as they spoke with Heitkotter.

Police said Heitkotter then rose off the bed and moved toward the officers with the rifle in his hand. Police said Heitkotter then shot himself in the head. Almost simultaneously, two officers fired. Heitkotter was struck in the shoulder area by a shot from an officer, police said.

Police said the other shot fired missed Heitkotter.

The two officers involved in the shooting have not been identified by Henderson police. Under its policy, Henderson police do not release the name of officers who fire their weapons on duty until 48 hours after an incident.

Keith Paul, a spokesman with Henderson police, said he was unsure if Heitkotter was trying to commit suicide by provoking police to kill him.

“He shot himself,” Paul said. “Whether or not he intended to force the officers to fire, I don’t know.”

A man who answered the door of the southeast area home Monday afternoon where Heitkotter shot himself said the Heitkotter family had no comment on the incident.

John Fudenberg, assistant coroner with the Clark County coroner’s office, said the agency is expected to release the cause and manner of death for Heitkotter’s death today.

He indicated the Henderson police account of a suicide was accurate.

“I’m certainly not telling you they’re incorrect,” he said.

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.

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