LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The man killed Monday night by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers attended protests leading up to his confrontation with police, and may have tried to fire a shot.
Jorge Gomez, 25, died in the shooting near the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse. Police say Gomez walked toward officers reaching for his gun.
During a briefing by Assistant Sheriff Christopher Jones, police showed videos and photos of Gomez openly displaying a weapon as he walked near Planet Hollywood on the Strip earlier in the week. He also had a weapon during protests.
He was not breaking any laws at the time and Metro officers did not approach him.
Jones described events surrounding the officer-involved shooting during a news briefing Thursday.
The investigation has revealed that Gomez may have tried to fire a shot, but the chamber was empty.
“He was growing increasingly radicalized. We do not know why,” Jones said.
Gomez was shot when he reached for a weapon as officers confronted him on Monday night. The team of four officers fired a total of 19 shots, leaving Gomez dead just before 11:30 p.m.
The four officers — identified Thursday as Sgt. Ryan Fryman, Officer Dan Emerton, Officer Vernon Ferguson and Officer Andrew Locher — were en route to the scene where Metro Officer Shay Mikalonis had been shot in front of Circus Circus when they saw Gomez near the courthouse.
They stopped and exited their vehicle, approaching Gomez. When Gomez went for a weapon, the officers fired on him. None of the officers were wearing body cameras because they work in a unit that does not require cameras.
The four officers are assigned to the Organization Development Bureau, Range Training Staff, according to Jones.
Gomez had earlier approached the scene of a protest at the courthouse, coming behind Metro vehicles as they moved south on Las Vegas Boulevard during an operation to disperse protesters. He was walking southbound on the sidewalk and stopped in front of the court house.
Officers first believed Gomez was carrying a bat, but as they got closer they saw his weapon, a Glock 24 handgun with a carbine conversion kit that makes it work like a rifle.
An officer then fired five bean-bag rounds at Gomez, and he fled north.
When Gomez was later killed, officers found two more weapons, a Glock 19 and a Glock 17, both 9mm hanguns. One of the handguns was in a backpack. He was also wearing body armor — a vest with ballistic plates.