LAS VEGAS – Police said Monday that a suspect in custody in a Las Vegas hospital emergency room was fatally shot by an officer after the man was left alone and lifted a stun gun out of a jail guard's bag that had been left near the suspect.
The unidentified man had been arrested on a felony arrest warrant and was taken to University Medical Center because he was incoherent after his arrest and could not be kept in jail, Las Vegas police Capt. Kelly McMahill said.
The 4:15 a.m. shooting happened when a hospital security officer and a nurse entered the small room where the suspect was and the suspect pointed the stun gun at him, McMahill said.
The security officer left the room to get help and found a police officer who went into the room and saw the man pointing the stun gun at the nurse. The officer fired once as the suspect was turning toward him, McMahill said.
McMahill did not say whether the security officer was armed when entered the room. Security video reviewed by investigators showed the suspect taking the stun gun from the guard's bag, McMahill said.
The man was declared dead shortly after the shooting. Police did not identify him, the officer, the jail guard, the security officer or the nurse.
The man had been arrested shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday on the warrant on an unspecified charge after he allegedly threatened suicide, said he had a gun and was "going to blast it out with cops," McMahill said.
Police officers found him unconscious near a bus stop in a business neighborhood about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the Las Vegas Strip. He was taken to the hospital after jailers determined he was too incoherent to be admitted at the Clark County Detention Center.
The stun gun was inside an equipment bag also containing shackles and paperwork that the corrections officer brought with him to the hospital for his assignment monitoring the suspect.
McMahill said police officers knew the suspect's background because they "have dealt with him on other suicide-type events, crisis intervention."
The officer who fired the shot was placed on paid leave pending reviews of the shooting by the police department and the district attorney's office.
Investigators will probe whether the jail guard violated policies and procedures by leaving the suspect alone and the bag with the stun gun in the room, Officer Larry Hadfield said.