Published Wednesday, July 15, 2015 | 12:19 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, July 15, 2015 | 8 p.m.
Metro Police released body camera video today that shows a traffic stop for a broken taillight turn suddenly violent after the agitated driver pulls a gun, leaving an officer wounded on the ground and the gunman dead.
In the video, 54-year-old James Todora is stopped about 9:40 a.m. Friday by Officer Carlos Luna in the 5600 block of West Sahara Avenue, just west of Lindell Avenue, for driving a gold Jeep Grand Cherokee with a broken taillight.
Todora had been in recent contact with police because of a dispute with his wife, from whom he was separated, Metro Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said at a news conference this morning.
In the video, Todora immediately gets out of the SUV and shouts at Luna to shoot him.
Luna orders Todora to step back into his car and then walks up and explains why he stopped the SUV.
At the same time, Officer Brian Kroening, conducting another traffic stop nearby, walks over to help when he sees Todora is agitated, McMahill said.
Luna continues to try to calm the situation with Todora, who is upset about a prior incident with police and his wife.
After telling Luna he has a rifle in the vehicle and threatening to kill himself, Todora suddenly grabs a Ruger 9mm handgun from under a blanket on the passenger seat and points it at Luna’s head, police say.
The gun makes a clicking noise but does not fire, and Luna scrambles to the back of the Jeep to take cover, police say.
"He's got a gun, he's got a gun," Luna screams as the video footage becomes chaotic.
Todora then fires a round from inside the car, striking Officer Evan Hogue, who had just arrived to help and stepped out of his patrol car, police say.
Kroening, who is standing at the passenger side of the Jeep, fires three rounds at Todora, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Hogue yells "I'm hit" as Luna rushes to his aid.
Luna then put Hogue into a patrol car and rushed him to University Medical Center, McMahill said.
A bullet grazed the neck of Hogue, who was treated and released the same day, police said.
Police say Todora had been in an ongoing dispute with his wife for days prior to the shooting.
During the first week of July, Todora asked his wife if he could borrow her truck and told her he was planning to move to Pahrump, McMahill said.
His wife arrived in the southwest valley July 5 to meet him, and he put a handgun in the passenger door panel of the vehicle as he tried to enter, McMahill said.
His wife saw the gun and drove away without him, returning home, and Todora later arrived at the home for the gun, he said.
The wife dialed 911 and police responded about 5:50 p.m., but Todora had gone, McMahill said.
The gun was impounded, and his wife called 911 again about 7:45 p.m., saying Todora was banging on the door and may have had a gun, police said.
Police who responded detained Todora, and he told them his wife tried to run him over earlier in the day, McMahill said.
No weapons were found, and he was released, he said.
In the video, Todora states the incident happened Thursday.
Todora's wife said he called her Thursday, telling her that he would kill her the next time he saw her, McMahill said.
He visited her home Friday just before being pulled over and banged on the door, but his wife didn't answer, police said.
A temporary protective order was issued against him July 8, but Luna was not aware of the dispute between Todora and his wife when he initiated the traffic stop, McMahill said.
It is unclear if Todora knew about the order when he went to visit his wife Friday, he said.