Las Vegas police have released a video of a gunfight between Metro officers and an armed suspect that left the man dead and an officer wounded near the strip on Tuesday.
The August 1 gunfight began when the suspect, identified as 25-year-old Miguel Salas, was noncompliant after Officer Richard Nelson, 33, and his unnamed partner asked him to exit his truck as they were investigating a stolen cellphone tracked to Salas’ location.
“I’m asking you to step out, man,” Nelson said, according to the Las Vegas Sun. “Just get out of the car.”
Salas responded,”Why, why, come on dude, I’m not doing anything wrong,” and “Why, why, what the hell?”
Salas repeatedly asked why had to exit the stolen vehicle, and can be heard on the video asking “Why do you need me to step out of my car?” and telling the officers “I’m not doing nothing!”
An officer responds, “Yes, you are. You’re not listening to our command. Do you want to get tased?”
Nelson and his partner can be seen restraining Salas as he sits in the truck arguing, before suddenly pulling a Glock 23 and firing five shots at the officers.
A bullet struck Nelson in the armpit area through a gap in his bulletproof vest and exited his lower back. His partner was struck on his work belt, but was not wounded.
He can be heard shooting, “Shots fired! I’ve been hit! Shots fired, I’ve been hit!”
Nelson fired at Salas nine times, landing the fatal shot to the suspect’s head. Though the officers could still see Salas breathing, they wouldn’t approach the car because he was still armed.
During a press conference Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts said that Nelson was “ok” and that the officer and his his partner, who was able to avoid injury, were “very lucky” to be alive. Roberts posited that Salas was afraid of being arrested after it was discovered that he was in possession of stolen property.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo told Fox 5 news, “It doesn’t matter what area this happens in, everybody comes together and supports each other (in times like these).”
Nelson, who first joined the department in 2009, has been placed on paid leave pending a review of the incident. He is a father of four and his fiancé and parents were present at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas where he was treated.
Roberts said the sheriff’s department is investigating the uptick in shooting incidents involving Las Vegas police, as 2017 has seen 15 already including this incident, and seven since June 20. In all of 2016 there were only 12 such shootings.
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