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Man shot by police had threatened to go on ‘killing spree’

Updated Friday, May 10, 2013 | 3:15 p.m.

A Las Vegas man holding a knife to the throat of a hostage told Metro Police officers, “Shoot me, shoot me in the head,” shortly before he was killed in November, according to new evidence revealed Friday.

Daniel Hathorne, 39, was shot five times by Metro Police officers and later died at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center after a confrontation Nov. 2 near Siegel Suites, 3825 Cambridge St.

The details of the case were recounted Friday morning at the Clark County Commission Chambers during the second Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review, a revamped version of a coroner’s inquest investigation into officer involved shootings.

During the testimony, Metro Detective Christopher Bunting, who investigated the case, painted a picture of Hathorne as a man in distress and suffering from drug abuse.

His girlfriend told police Hathorne started using methamphetamine and had become increasingly paranoid and anxious in his final months. Hathorne was arrested in August after striking his girlfriend and threatening her with a knife.

After moving into the Siegel Suites on Oct. 24, Hathorne told his girlfriend he had considered suicide but changed his mind.

Hathorne only paid for a week stay and was locked out of the apartment by the landlord on Nov. 1. But he returned later that night and broke in through a window, Bunting said.

When the manager discovered Hathorne sleeping on the bed in the morning, a brief altercation ensued in which Hathorne threatened to take hostages and go on a “killing spree.”

Hathorne fled the complex onto Cambridge Street when police arrived following a 911 call from the manager.

While being pursued by police, Hathorne grabbed a 66-year-old bystander and put a kitchen knife to her throat.

Three officers responding to the scene repeatedly told Hathorne to drop the knife. When he refused, two officers fired a total of seven shots. The incident — from the taking of the hostage to the shooting — lasted 85 seconds, Bunting said.

The fact-finding review included just one witness, Bunting, who was questioned for more than two hours by Chief Deputy District Attorney Marc DiGiacomo and ombudsman Mark Bailus, an attorney representing the interests of the public and Hathorne’s family.

Exhibits included audio from the 911 call from the apartment manager, radio communications among officers and forensic evidence collected at the scene and from Hathorne’s apartment.

The hearing does not result in any findings of whether the shooting was justified. It is meant to increase transparency by providing the public information about the events leading up to the officer-involved shooting.

DiGiacomo said the District Attorney’s Office expects to release a final report on the shooting in 30 to 45 days.

The first fact-finding review, conducted in February, dealt with the death of disabled Gulf War veteran Stanley Gibson, who was shot and killed by Metro Police in December 2011.

Steve Sisolak

Steve Sisolak

That hearing included two witnesses — the Metro detective who investigated the shooting and another Metro employee responsible for the department’s radio system, the failure of which factored into Gibson’s shooting.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who supported changes to the coroner’s inquest process, said he thinks the second fact-finding hearing went smoother than the first one but that tweaks could be made.

“A lot of facts came out that I did not know previous to this. I think that was very good,” Sisolak said. “It just seems like we’re missing something. I don’t mean a verdict, just maybe a statement from the District Attorney’s Office.”

Commissioners will review the revamped process and make any needed changes after the third or fourth hearing, Sisolak said.

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