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Las Vegas Probe to See If Off-Duty Officer Was Intoxicated

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A veteran Las Vegas police detective is facing a departmental investigation into whether he had been drinking alcohol before firing a handgun during an off-duty brawl with an armed robbery suspect in the lobby of an animal hospital, a police official said.

Detective Lance Spiotto fired twice — into the floor near a counter and into the ceiling near the front door — during the Monday afternoon scuffle with suspect Ronald Hassan Clark, Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill told reporters Thursday.

Security video showed the fight before it spilled outside, where a third round was fired from Spiotto’s weapon, police said.

Clark, 46, wasn’t wounded. Police say he was arrested a short time later after a standoff with police at an apartment.

Police investigating the attempted robbery reported that Spiotto smelled of alcohol, according to a police report.

McMahill said Spiotto will face disciplinary action if found to have been impaired when he fired his gun, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Spiotto has been a police officer for 22 years.

The Las Vegas Police Protective Association will represent Spiotto in the departmental investigation into what Steve Grammas, union president, characterized as “courageous and heroic action” by an off-duty officer.

Police said Spiotto was sitting with his pet in the waiting room when a man wearing a red bandanna displayed a handgun and reached across a reception counter.

Records show Clark was being held without bail at the county jail pending a court appearance on assault with a weapon, robbery, burglary and weapon charges. He is being represented by a Clark County deputy defender, but the name of his attorney wasn’t listed on court records.

The Review-Journal reports that police found a wallet with Clark’s identification at the scene of the scuffle at the animal hospital, but Clark told investigators he never went inside. Instead, he told officers he stayed in a car while his friend went inside and committed the robbery.

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