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July 23, 2017

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Body camera images show knife-wielding man grab officer’s car door

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Steve Marcus

Metro Police investigate an officer-involved shooting on Rancho Drive between Jones Boulevard and Craig Road Tuesday, July 11, 2017.

News Conference on Rancho Drive OIS

A still photo taken from body camera video, showing Caleb Edward Blaylock charging an officer with a knife, is displayed during a news conference at Metro Police headquarters Thursday, July 13, 2017. Blaylock was shot and killed Tuesday on Rancho Drive when he charged an officer with a knife, police said. Launch slideshow »

The 911 caller tells police that a man armed with a 10-inch knife was in a confrontation and then tried to carjack a pickup truck.

When a Metro Police officer encounters the suspect walking away from the area of the alleged crime, Caleb Edward Blaylock, 27, appears to be cutting himself.

Blaylock continues to walk, ignoring commands to drop the knife.

“He’s actively stabbing himself,” Officer William Pollock tells a dispatch operator as he continues to follow him with his cruiser on Rancho Drive in the north valley.

Then, Blaylock turns suddenly and rushes the officer, who fires two rounds.

Pollock, who prior to the shooting was able to open the driver’s door and pull his gun from his holster, captured the shooting on his body-worn camera.

The images show Blaylock holding the cruiser’s door with his left hand while his right hand is stretched out in a swinging motion, holding what would later appear to be a butter knife.

Blaylock falls next to the driver’s door. Stop! Stop!” Pollard yells.

But Blaylock doesn’t comply and begins to get on his knees, raising his knife in a threatening matter “as if he’s going to stab” Pollard, so four more rounds are fired, said Clark County Assistant Sheriff Todd Fasulo, who on Thursday provided a detailed update on the shooting.

It all unfolded Tuesday shortly after 1 p.m. outside a pawnshop at 4233 N. Rancho Drive, south of Craig Road, police said.

A pickup truck parks in a lot and three men get out, Fasulo said. Some sort of altercation follows and Blaylock pulls out a knife and at some point tries to take the vehicle; the driver fends off the attack by striking him with a hammer.

The two victims enter the business and relate the event to staff inside, who then call police, Fasulo said. The men drive away and are later identified by detectives, who’d spoken to one of them.

Information on what sort of relationship between the men and Blaylock wasn't known Thursday afternoon, Fasulo said.

Pollock arrives soon after he's dispatched. A man who witnessed the initial incident rushes the cruiser, points toward Blaylock and says, "that’s they guy," shortly before the fatal encounter.

Shots are fired at 1:26 p.m., 18 minutes after the initial call.

Investigators on Thursday were still combing through information, Fasulo said. Did Blaylock have a history of mental illness? It's not known. “I don’t think that anybody knows what went through his mind at the time he did what he did,” Fasulo said.

The little that was known about Blaylock was his criminal history: two arrests involving drug possession in 2011 and earlier this year, and an arrest for suspicion of open and gross lewdness in a 2014 case, Fasulo said. Further details on those cases were not immediately available.

Out of 11 Metro shootings so far this year, Blaylock was the sixth person to die, Fasulo said. During the same period in 2016, six people were shot, two fatally.

Although it's an increase, Fasulo cited the department's efforts of de-escalation, transparency and accountability, that have occurred after policy changes that followed a critical 2012 U.S. Department of Justice report on police shootings.

He gave an example: The suspect rushed the officer from 21 feet away, which gave the suspect enough time to hurt the officer had he not had the gun out of his holster.

"To some people it's a dinnerware knife, but it still will kill you — it takes one motion and you're dead," Fasulo said, noting that the aggression unfolded suddenly, which could have kept the officer from knowing the exact type of artifact the suspect was swinging at him.

“Obviously we don’t like any shootings," Fasulo said. But fighting crime and subsequently encountering "people who are violent and want to cause great bodily harm to another innocent citizen or to our officers," is what police do for a living, he added.

Metro has and is well-versed with an "extensive policy of de-escaltion and sanctity of life," Fasulo said.

Deadly force is a last resort, he said. “If an officer has to pull a trigger," Metro requires it to be "the absolute last thing that person could have ever done."

Pollock, a 16-year veteran of the force, is on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues, police said.

Metro officer-involved shootings, 2010-2016

2010: 25, 7 fatal

2011: 17, 12 fatal

2012: 11, 4 fatal

2013: 13, 3 fatal

2014: 16, 8 fatal

2015: 16, 11 fatal

2016: 11, 3 fatal

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