Aug 5, 2017
Las Vegas, NV - Two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers were shot Tuesday afternoon after a theft suspect pulled a gun on them. The body camera footage has now been released (video below.)
The shooting stemmed from a theft on Sunday where a man had his cell phones stolen from his car while he was in a grocery store.
The theft victim was later able to track the position of his cell phones to a spot where a pickup truck was parked in the 4100 block of West Tompkins Avenue.
At around 4:15 PM on Tuesday, two officers received the report of the cell phone's location and contacted the occupant of the vehicle, Miguel Salas, 25, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The officers talked to Salas and asked him to get out of the truck. The man refused to comply with the officers' commands, and refused to exit his vehicle. Rather than forcing Salas out, the officers continued to try to talk to him.
This is in line with the new age of police training. Officers used to be taught the "Ask, Tell, Make" method of gaining compliance. You used to ask somebody to do something, then when they refused you'd tell them to do it, and if they'd still refused, you'd make them do it.
Ask, Tell, Make results in officers using force more often, so training is now focusing on talking to people in an effort to convince them to comply. Officers may skip straight to a use of force if the suspect is presenting a threat or indicates that they may become violent.
Critics of the new training say that it gives suspects more of an opening to escape or attack while officers are busy coddling them.
As the officers worked to convince Salas to exit his vehicle, they finally told him that he could get tased. The suspect responded by pulling a gun and shooting the officers.
Officer Richard Nelson was struck through a gap in his ballistic vet, getting shot through the abdomen. The second officer was shot on his gunbelt, which deflected the bullet; he was uninjured.
The suspect shot nine times, and it was initially reported that he shot himself. The coroner determined that the suspect was fatally shot in the head by Officer Nelson.
“I got to watch some of the body-worn camera from this incident tonight, and as I stand before you today, I can tell you we are extremely lucky,” Captain Kelly McMahill said. “And I feel very blessed that our officers are able to go home tonight and be with their families.”
A bystander also recorded the gunfight, and that video has now been released.
“It’s happening all across the valley, and now individuals are taking it upon themselves to fire at police officers,” Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said at a press conference on Tuesday. “This is the situation we’re put in quite often. And this is what we signed up to do. But we didn’t sign up to get shot."
Officer Nelson in stable condition.
You can see video of the gunfight below. Warning - Graphic content: