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September 20, 2014

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Metro officer shot in thigh with own handgun, police reports show

Struggle between officer, suspect in Friday night burglary preceded shooting

Updated Monday, Sept. 16, 2013 | 1:48 p.m.

Details are emerging about a weekend incident in which a Metro Police officer was shot during a struggle at a Las Vegas plumbing business.

Officer Frank Harris was shot in the right thigh with his own handgun, according to police reports released today by the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. It is unclear from reports, whether the man Harris was trying to subdue had slipped a handcuff or had somehow avoided being fully handcuffed before the shooting occurred.

Harris was shot about 11 p.m. Friday while responding to a burglary at Prestige Plumbing in the 4700 block of Quality Court near Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard.

According to the Metro reports of the incident:

Harris and Officer Matthew Kovacich responded to reports of a burglary in progress at the business. Skip Gelisse, the business owner, had seen on a video monitor at least two burglars in the secured yard of his business. He let Harris into the yard, and a short time later Harris appeared to have one suspect, 25-year-old Joshua Paulo, in custody.

Paulo, Gelisse told officers, was seated on the ground and appeared to have his hands cuffed behind his back.

As Harris was assisting Paulo to his feet, Paulo suddenly swing around and attacked Harris, throwing him into a pickup truck. The two fought, and then Gelisse heard a gunshot. He ran back inside to call 911 for more police help.

Meanwhile, Kovacich, who had been pursuing a second suspect, heard the gunshot followed by Harris’ screams for help. Kovacich ran to Harris and saw Paulo, handcuffed only on his right hand, standing over Harris and kicking the downed officer.

Kovacich struck Paulo in the head, knocked him to the ground and handcuffed him.

Two other Metro officers who were removing Paulo from the area reported Paulo say about Harris, "I hope he dies."

Paulo was arrested on several counts, including attempted murder of a police officer, resisting arrest and burglary.

A suspected accomplice, 19-year-old Dylan Dybczynski, was captured near the plumbing business and arrested on counts including burglary and obstructing a police officer.

Gelisse told officers approximately $1,100 worth of equipment, including copper piping and extension cords, had been taken from four tool boxes on company trucks parked in the yard.

Metro said Harris, who has been with the department since December 2007, was treated and released Saturday from University Medical Center.

Paulo and Dybczynski also were treated at UMC for cuts that occurred when they climbed across razor wire that surrounded the plumbing yard. Both remain in the Clark County Detention Center. Bond for Dybczynski is $118,000; Paulo is incarcerated without bail.

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