Officer Shot Near Las Vegas Strip, I-15 Traffic Jam Mark July 4 Holiday

A Las Vegas police officer was hospitalized with a gunshot wound during a July 4 weekend that had police out in “full force” during casino fireworks shows and other events, a police captain said.

As seen in this Highway Patrol image, a trooper pulls a motorist over on I-15 as visitors return to California from Las Vegas on Monday. Some motorists drive illegally on the shoulder to avoid traffic. (Image: Nevada Highway Patrol)

The shooting occurred early Sunday, when police responded to a 1:33 am “disturbance” on the 3300 block of Al Davis Way near Allegiant Stadium, according to a police statement. The off-Strip stadium is just west of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

During the incident, police took an unidentified man into custody and were escorting him to a “security office” when he got access to an officer’s gun during a struggle. 

The suspect fired a shot that struck an officer, who was hospitalized without life-threatening injuries. A second officer was hospitalized with minor injuries. The suspect was taken to a hospital “to be evaluated due to his erratic behavior,” according to the police statement.

On Saturday night, the first concert was held at Allegiant Stadium, a show by electronic dance music performer Illenium. Al Davis Way, where the incident occurred early Sunday, is near Allegiant Stadium.

I-15 Traffic Jam

On Monday, a traffic jam on Interstate 15 at the California-Nevada border delayed the return home for tourists from Southern California. At around noon on Monday, the Nevada Highway Patrol tweeted that traffic was backed up from the California state line for about 12 miles to Jean, Nev. “It will continue to build all day,” the Highway Patrol’s Southern Command tweeted.

In an effort to alleviate traffic congestion on I-15, a private transportation company is proposing to build a high-speed train from the Victor Valley of California to a station near the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip. Construction on the track was to begin this summer, but has been delayed at least until 2022. Las Vegas officials have said the train is important to casinos and the tourism industry.

Guns on Las Vegas Strip

On Saturday, Capt. Dori Koren tweeted that the police department “did a great job” on the first night of the Independence Day weekend.

No shootings, stabbings, or major incidents on the Strip,” he tweeted on July 3. “Now it’s time for night two.”

Koren tweeted earlier that police would be out in “full force” on the Strip over the Fourth of July weekend. The captain has been active in tweeting pictures of illegal firearms and narcotics that police have confiscated in recent weeks on the Strip and nearby tourist areas.

Based on pre-pandemic July 4 crowds, an estimated 300,000 people were expected to view fireworks shows launched from casinos on the Strip and downtown. The largest hotel-casinos in the state are on the Strip, outside Las Vegas city limits. The combined city-county Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, known locally as Metro, patrols both areas.

In summarizing the weekend on Monday, Koren tweeted, “The crowd last night was the largest it’s been since early last year. Our cops did an exceptional job keeping things in order & making sure there were no major incidents on the Strip.”

In late June, Koren tweeted that violent crime was down by 11 percent on the Strip. Within days after that tweet, a man was shot while beating a woman at the Sahara Las Vegas on the northeast end of the Strip. The suspect survived the gunshot wound and has been arrested.

Larry Henry

Gaming Regulation, Crime, Politics — Larry Henry is a veteran print and broadcast journalist who spent more than 16 years in Nevada, including serving as legislative reporter for the Reno Gazette-Journal and as political editor at the Las Vegas Sun. He's also written about popular culture for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. As a broadcast journalist, he worked as managing editor at KFSM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Arkansas, where he now lives and where casino growth is a hot topic. A Marine Corps veteran and LSU graduate, he is also an avid movie fan, especially of classic film noir from the 1940s and ’50s.

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