Wounded Las Vegas Police Officer Fights for Life after Shooting Near Circus Circus

Posted on: June 2, 2020, 05:06h. 

Last updated on: June 24, 2020, 09:44h.

A Las Vegas police officer was placed on life support at University Medical Center after being shot in the head at about 11 p.m. Monday outside of Circus Circus Hotel & Casino on the Strip. The shooting happened during a struggle apparently involving protesters, according to local news reports.

circus circus shooting
A Las Vegas police SWAT vehicle responded to Monday night’s shooting of a police officer near Circus Circus. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said the officer was in “extremely critical condition,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported at about 4 a.m. Tuesday.

It appears the unnamed officer was in a struggle with a suspect when a third person got behind the officer and shot him in the head, an unidentified police source told KLAS TV, a local station.

Protesters were in the area Monday night to mark the memory of George Floyd and bring attention to wider issues of police violence nationwide against African Americans. It appears many protesters had dispersed before the shooting took place at Circus Circus. But then a melee broke out near the resort casino.

The officer was trying to arrest violent protesters when he was shot, based on initial news reports. Many in the crowd were hurling rocks and bottles at police. A suspect was believed to have been taken into custody early Tuesday, the Review-Journal said.

A second police-involved shooting also took place Monday night in Las Vegas, near the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse. Multiple officers apparently shot an armed suspect several times.

He died from the wounds, the Review-Journal reported. After the suspect was shot, a marshal gave aid to the wounded man, US Marshal Gary Schofield told the Review-Journal.

Authorities believe the suspect had fired a shot near the courthouse. It was unclear if the courthouse shooting was somehow related to the incident at Circus Circus.

Both complexes are on South Las Vegas Boulevard. They are about 2.5 miles apart. Portions of Las Vegas Boulevard were blocked as the investigation of the crime scenes continued through the night.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted Monday night, “My Office has been notified that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is currently working two separate incidents in Las Vegas. The State is in contact with local law enforcement and continues to monitor the situation.”

Police Patrol University Medical Center

Many Las Vegas police and other uniformed officers were patrolling around University Medical Center during the night, where the officer was being treated, KVVU TV, another local station, reported.

At about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Metropolitan police department’s Bolden Area Command tweeted: “In this moment, we ask for prayers for our law enforcement community. Let us join together in prayer for the peace of our city.”

The shootings happened on the fifth successive night of sometime violent protests on the Strip and in downtown Las Vegas. Over the weekend, several hundred protesters were arrested in Las Vegas. Multiple Metropolitan police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Prior to the shootings, Monday night’s Black Lives Matter-organized protest was markedly less violent than the ones on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, based on initial reports

Before sunset Monday, officers blocked an estimated 75 protesters from getting too close to the Trump Tower on Fashion Show Drive, off the Strip.

Violence, Arrests Over Weekend

Over the weekend, police reportedly used tear gas and rubber bullets multiple times to disperse crowds who refused to move despite repeated requests from officers. There were also reports of Molotov cocktails being thrown to cause destruction over the weekend.

Protesters are assembling nationwide to recall how George Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody eight days ago. In that incident, an officer’s knee was placed on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes as he begged for his life. Three other Minneapolis officers at the scene failed to intervene.

Las Vegas casinos remain shuttered Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic. They were expected to start reopening on Thursday.