Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun
Published Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | 12:37 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2010 | 4:19 p.m.
Metro Police news conference
Location of shooting
A Metro Police officer fighting for his life after being shot in the leg Tuesday evening was identified Wednesday as 31-year-old Mike Madland, a three-year veteran of the force.
Sheriff Doug Gillespie said Madland was in "very serious" condition after being shot twice while chasing a car theft suspect at about 9 p.m. Tuesday in the backyard of a residence in the 800 block of Dolores Drive, near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard.
“What happened last night is a perfect illustration of what police officers face very day – brazen criminals, armed criminals, willing to use a gun, even against law enforcement,” Gillespie said.
Officers spotted a stolen vehicle shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday and when the officers tried to stop the car, two men inside jumped out, police said. One man jumped over a wall and started running, with Madland in pursuit. The second man was taken into custody shortly after leaving the car.
The man who ran pulled a gun and started shooting at the officers, striking Madland, Gillespie said. Madland’s partner returned fire and killed the man, who police identified as 26-year-old Damon Beal. Police Capt. Randy Montandon said Beal was shot twice in the head.
The man who was arrested was identified as 45-year-old Marvin Lee Wilson.
Madland is married and has children. He is a member of Metro's saturation patrol team and has been with the department for three years.
"He was out there fighting crime, making our community safe," Gillespie said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.
Gillespie said one bullet struck Madland's bulletproof vest and didn't penetrate the vest. The other bullet struck a major artery in his leg.
Gillespie said he has spoken with the injured officer’s family several times.
"Under the circumstances, they're doing well," he said. Madland is at University Medical Center, where he has undergone several surgeries, police said.
Gillespie said the investigation was ongoing and wouldn’t confirm earlier reports about the events leading up to the shooting.
“Once we have that puzzle put together we’ll bring it forth, but at this time, we’re still putting these pieces together,” he said.
Police said Tuesday evening that two men allegedly stole a Mercedes earlier that morning, then tried to break into a house in the afternoon but fled when confronted by the homeowner. Patrol officers pulled behind the Mercedes just before 9 p.m., ran the vehicle’s plates and realized it had been reported stolen, authorities said Tuesday.
Authorities will release the name of the officer who shot Beal within 48 hours of the shooting, which is standard department policy.
Marvin is being held in the Clark County Detention Center.
Gillespie said both men have criminal histories. Wilson was arrested in connection with resisting a police officer, possession of a stolen vehicle and driving on a revoked license in connection with Tuesday's incident. His criminal history in Clark County includes the following arrests:
• August 2009 -- No proof of insurance and operating an unregistered vehicle.
• February 2009 -- Driving under the influence of alcohol, obstructing a police officer and open container in a vehicle.
• December 2007 -- Citation for petit larceny, which was later dismissed.
• February 2007 -- Driving under the influence of alcohol.
• May 2004 -- Possession of stolen property and burglary.
Beal's criminal history in Clark County includes the following arrests:
• January 2005 -- Possession of a controlled substance and grand larceny auto. The grand larceny auto was later dismissed.
• January 2005 -- Attempted sexual assault that was later denied.
• January 2005 -- Possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.
• November 2004 -- Embezzled vehicle.
• Beal's history includes several misdemeanor traffic offenses.
Resident Andrea McKinney, 53, said she heard tires skidding on pavement and saw two men who turned onto her street in a Mercedes that police later said was stolen.
“I thought it was people racing … but then we heard gunshots and hit the floor,” McKinney said. “It sounded like it was coming into our house (because) it was so loud.”
The owner of the house where the gunfire occurred said he was home with his wife and two daughters when he noticed two officers running toward his backyard. Afraid a criminal might be in the area, he went to lock the back gate for protection.
While locking the gate, he said he saw the suspect try to jump over a fence, but he wasn't successful. The suspect then turned around and fired at an officer, the man said. The homeowner asked that his name not be used.
“This is the first time I’ve seen something like this,” he said. “I was scared for my family.”
Another neighbor said she was having a birthday party in her backyard when the shooting occurred. She said everyone heard gunshots and ran inside to take cover.
Resident Larry Martinez, 66, said he came outside as more police officers began to arrive at the scene. He said he watched as several officers rushed through a back gate to the injured officer.
“It was scary,” Martinez said Wednesday. “You don’t think it’s going to happen in your neighborhood. I’m praying that (the officer) is doing OK.”