Las Vegas Sun

May 25, 2019

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Las Vegas police fatally wound man who ‘recklessly’ waved gun in central valley

OIS on Doolittle Ave

Steve Marcus

Metro Police vehicles block H Street following an officer-involved shooting near 900 Doolittle Avenue Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018.

Updated Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 | 6:03 p.m.

OIS on Doolittle Ave

A Metro Police officer stands by near the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Doolittle Avenue Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. Launch slideshow »

When the live broadcast from a shaky cell-phone begins early Saturday in central Las Vegas, sunlight shines on a gate that separates witnesses from a confrontation between Metro Police and a young man who is on his knees and pointing a gun to his head.

The 70-minute video, streamed live on social media, shows a portion of the standoff that subsequently ended when a SWAT officer fired a sniper rifle, fatally wounding the man who they say “recklessly” waved his gun toward officers and civilians.

The fatal shooting wasn't captured on Facebook. But by Saturday evening, that video had garnered about 40,000 views and about 2,200 comments, many posted during the live stream.

The man was suspected of firing a gun once inside an apartment occupied by members of his family, and once outside, Metro Capt. Jamie Prosser said.

Police were summoned to the reported domestic-violence incident shortly 5 a.m. in the 900 block of Doolittle Avenue, near H Street and Lake Mead Boulevard, Prosser said.

Initially, officers could not find the gunman. But about an hour later, during a search the area, which comprises several apartment complexes, he came out from behind a dumpster, still armed with a gun, Prosser said.

Sometime after that, the suspect waved the gun at the direction of officers and civilians, Prosser said. Negotiators, SWAT and K-9 teams— were requested.

Facebook user D. Nova Miller pressed record, his live video begins to stream.

On social media, commenters type away. In the neighborhood, witnesses scream. The messages at times have a striking resemblance. They range from comical, to genuine worry, to discussing about police tactics.

Meanwhile, officers plead with the suspect to not move, telling him that he hadn't yet hurt anyone. A woman yells out to "Boosie" to "put the gun down, you're scaring everyone."

"Your life is worth it!" she says desperately. Miller plays the role of a sort of commentator for the hundreds who are streaming the standoff live. He was "minding his business," he said at one point, but when he went to his patio to smoke, he saw what was unfolding in front of him.

As the adrenaline seemingly wears off, and when he likely fully grasps what is occurring, Miller becomes less excited and more reflective. "Don't do it brother," he said in a quiet voice when the suspect got particularly close to officers.

Sirens blare continuously. And for the 70 or so minutes, the officers appear focused and mostly unmoved as they try to continue to talk with the suspect, who only reciprocates with maniacal behavior.

The officers' guns are drawn, but they don't flinch, even as the suspect, who is dressed in jeans and a stripped polo, is mobile. He paces on the street; he sits with his hands on the pavement, he walks around yelling at the cops, taunting them; he gets on top of a white car.

In the meantime, an officer continuously tells Miller to go inside.

Shortly before the stream ends, an officer evacuating the building knocks on Miller's apartment. Miller proceeds upstairs, but by the time his phone again points outside, a gunman and officers have moved on.

In the distance, moving through another complex are several armed officers and a police dog. It wouldn't be long before the suspect would again erratically wave his gun about 7:20 a.m., prompting the SWAT officer to pull the trigger of a sniper rifle.

For the eighth time this month, Metro’s officers have resorted to gunfire when dealing with armed suspects. This was the second such occasion in less than 24 hours.

About 18 hours earlier, a Metro officer shot and critically wounded a suspect police said randomly stabbed two women near Rainbow Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road.

Metro officers on Saturday were “trying to do anything that they could to potentially bring this to a peaceful resolution,” Prosser said, a message that’s been repeated by the agency's leadership all month as they’ve dealt with the violent trend.

Customary detailed briefings on both shootings are expected early next week.