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August 28, 2016

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Young bystander is shot as police confront man waving gun on the Strip near Bellagio

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Mikayla Whitmore

Metro Police officers block Las Vegas Boulevard South at Flamingo Road at the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. The boulevard was closed between Flamingo and the Paris resort as officers investigated.

Updated Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 | 1:40 a.m.

Las Vegas Strip Shooting

Metro Police officers block Las Vegas Boulevard South at Flamingo Road at the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. The boulevard was closed between Flamingo and the Paris resort as officers investigated. Launch slideshow »

A man said to be pointing a gun at pedestrians in front of the Bellagio is in custody after an officer-involved shooting shut down the Las Vegas Strip late Friday for several hours, Metro Police said.

Capt. Matt McCarthy said police responded about 7:10 p.m. to reports of a man walking in and out of Strip traffic waving a gun and pointing it at passers-by.

An arriving officer approached the suspect, who did not obey verbal commands, McCarthy said. The officer fired on the man, but missed.

The gunfire grazed the leg of a juvenile bystander, who was taken to University Medical Center and released in good condition. A man nearby also was grazed by gunfire, but only his clothing was affected.

Police apprehended the suspect, who is familiar to Strip buskers as one who frequently sells goods to tourists, and seized his handgun, McCarthy said. He will face felony weapons charges relating to pointing a firearm at a person.

Traffic was still shut down on Las Vegas Boulevard in both directions between Flamingo Road and Paris Drive as of about 1 a.m. Nearby pedestrian overpasses were also shut down.

One social media user at the scene posted a photo that shows Metro officers tending to a possible gunshot victim. Another shared video that captures the sound of gunshots during the fountain show at Bellagio.

Rachel Jael, a music performer on the Strip, described a frantic scene in which he thought he saw a man show a knife to a Metro officer before the officer stepped back and fired.

The man, who Jael described as "middle-aged," sells hats and souvenirs on the Strip.

"He was a sweet guy, always polite," Jael said. "We didn't think he was capable of hurting a fly."

Jacare da Silva, a dancer who performs near Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard, said he saw a "familiar face" lying on the ground in front of the Bellagio after hearing multiple gunshots.

"I'm not sure if he was armed or what happened," da Silva said, "but most of us knew his face from around here."

This is the Metro's first officer involved-shooting of the year. Per department policy, the identity of the officer involved will be released after 48 hours.

The Las Vegas Sun’s Ric Anderson and Chris Kudialis contributed to this report.

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