LAS VEGAS (AP) — A convicted criminal killed in a shootout with Las Vegas police this week opened fire on the officers when they tried to remove him from a stolen truck, critically injuring one who is expected to survive despite being shot in the chest, an assistant sheriff said Friday.
The other officer escaped serious injury when a bullet lodged in his service belt during the exchange of gunfire Tuesday several blocks west of the Las Vegas Strip, Assistant Clark County Sheriff Tom Roberts said at a news conference.
Las Vegas police said earlier the gunman, identified Friday as 25-year-old Miguel Salas, was shot at least once by police and also had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Clark County coroner said Friday that Salas died from an officer’s bullet to the head and ruled the death a homicide.
Roberts said the officer who was hit, Richard Nelson, 33, fired 10 rounds during the shootout and Salas shot nine times.
Nelson and his partner, who did not fire his gun, were checking on a stolen cellphone that its owner traced to a car in the area when they pulled up behind Salas in a stolen Chevy Silverado pickup Tuesday afternoon, Roberts said.
Salas refused orders to exit the vehicle and when Nelson attempted to open the door to remove him, he slammed it shut, Roberts said.
Nelson grabbed Salas by the left arm, but Salas “reached over with his right hand, pulled a gun from near his left leg and immediately began opening fire on both officers,” Roberts said.
Salas, who had a second gun in the car with him and had numerous previous convictions in Nevada, was prohibited from owning a firearm, Roberts said. He said that if he had survived, Salas would have faced multiple charges, including two counts of attempted murder, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of stolen property.