Las Vegas Cops Fatally Shoot Suspect Who Tried to Sever His Arm

Posted on: February 23, 2024, 07:42h. 

Last updated on: February 23, 2024, 10:57h.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers shot and killed a homeless man during a Tuesday morning confrontation in Las Vegas, officials announced on Thursday. The suspect had been holding a long, sharp piece of metal and refused to drop it.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department SUV
A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department SUV, pictured above. Two LVMPD officers fatally shot a man holding a weapon on Tuesday. (Image: KVVU)

The officers repeatedly warned the suspect to let go of the weapon during the tense 12:41 a.m. standoff on Las Vegas’ South Eastern Avenue near the intersection with Sahara Avenue.

But Jose Luis Saenz, 41, refused to comply and kept walking toward the officers. He continued to grasp the 29-inch weapon, according to police at the scene.

Officer Fired Initial Shot

With the hope of deescalating the situation, one officer fired a single shot at Saenz, which hit him in the lower leg, causing him to fall to the pavement.

Saenz then got up and resumed walking toward the officers while still clutching the sharp piece of metal.

It was then that Officers Joshua Romanski, 37, and Paul Guerrero, 26, apparently fearful for their lives, both shot at the suspect. In total, they fired five shots.

The officers gave Saenz emergency medical treatment before he was rushed to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where he was declared deceased.

Arm Covered With Blood

Minutes earlier, just as an initial officer arrived, Saenz was trying to remove his own arm with the sharp piece of metal, police said. There were cuts and his arm was covered with blood from the self-inflicted injury, according to Las Vegas TV station KTNV.

He appeared to be “suicidal” even before officers arrived, the LVMPD said in a statement.

Saenz wasn’t charged because he died. Had he survived, police likely would have charged him with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a protected person and a count of resisting arrest with a deadly weapon not a firearm, according to Las Vegas TV station KLAS.

Saenz’s body is expected to undergo an autopsy to confirm the cause and manner of death.

Neither of the officers was injured during the standoff.

Under police protocol, both officers Romanski and Guerrero were placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is reviewed. The review process will examine if the use of deadly force was warranted by the officers, given the circumstances during the confrontation.

Body cam video will likely be reviewed as well as statements from the officers and from any witnesses to the shooting.

The shooting took place near Jaycee Park.

Second Police-Involved Shooting

Tuesday’s deadly incident is the second officer-involved shooting since January for the LVMPD.

The prior shooting was on February 6 on Sherwood Street.

In that incident, officers shot and killed Lee Derek Larson after he refused to drop a gun aimed at the police officers.

Both officers Jae Maston and Wesley Merren were placed on paid administrative leave pending a review of the shooting.

Those with emotional health challenges can contact the national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.