Las Vegas Sun

October 24, 2017

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Metro Police: Officer shoots, kills man who took guard’s stun gun at hospital

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Tiffany Brown

University Medical Center, which is Clark County’s only publicly funded hospital.

Updated Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 | 12:56 p.m.

A man in police custody in a Las Vegas hospital emergency room was shot and killed by an officer early today after the man took a stun gun from a jail guard's bag left alone with him in a room and pointed it at a hospital security guard and a nurse, officials said.

The man had been arrested on a felony arrest warrant and was taken to University Medical Center because he was too intoxicated after his arrest to be kept in jail, Las Vegas police Capt. Kelly McMahill said.

The 4:15 a.m. shooting happened when a hospital security officer and a nurse entered the small room and the suspect pointed the stun gun at the officer, McMahill said.

The security officer left the room to get help and found a police officer who went into the room and saw the man pointing the stun gun at the nurse. The officer fired once as the suspect was turning toward him, McMahill said.

McMahill said security video reviewed by investigators showed the suspect taking the stun gun from the guard's bag. She did not say whether the security officer was armed when he entered the room.

The man was declared dead shortly after the shooting. Police did not identify him, the officer, the jail guard, the security officer or the nurse.

The man had been arrested shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday on the warrant on an unspecified charge after he allegedly threatened suicide, said he had a gun and was "going to blast it out with cops," McMahill said.

Police officers found him unconscious near a bus stop in a business neighborhood about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the Las Vegas Strip. He was taken to the hospital after jailers determined he was too incoherent to be admitted at the Clark County Detention Center.

McMahill said she did not know whether the suspect was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.

The stun gun was inside an equipment bag also containing shackles and paperwork that the corrections officer brought with him to the hospital for his assignment monitoring the suspect.

McMahill said police officers knew the suspect's background after dealing with him "on other suicide-type events, crisis intervention."

The officer who fired the shot was placed on paid leave pending reviews of the shooting by the police department and the district attorney's office.

Investigators will probe whether the jail guard violated policies and procedures by leaving the suspect alone and the bag with the stun gun in the room, Officer Larry Hadfield said.

The shooting happened in a "contained and locked-down" part of the emergency department and briefly interrupted care for other patients, said hospital spokeswoman Danita Cohen.

She declined to describe hospital policies for handling patients who are in police or jail custody, citing patient privacy laws and the police investigation into the shooting.