LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) trooper hit during the pursuit of a carjacker on Interstate 15 Tuesday is in critical condition but stable at UMC, the I-Team has learned. His name will be released Wednesday morning.
The trooper’s family is appreciative of the supportive messages they’ve received and the other law enforcement members who are waiting outside the hospital.
“We’re like a family, and when one of us is hurt while out there trying to do their job, we all feel it,” said Trooper Travis Smaka during a press conference.
12:30 p.m., the trooper was laying down spike strips to help stop the car, which was being pursued by the Department of Parole and Probation. That vehicle hit the trooper, and he went through the car’s windshield, according to information provided by Rick McCann, the executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers.
The suspect was initially identified as a female, but Metro police confirmed Wednesday the suspect was a man.
Earlier in the day, sources told 8 News Now the trooper was transported to University Medical Center in a Metro police helicopter.
During the incident, officers believed that the suspect was reaching for a trooper’s gun after the vehicle was stopped on I-15 near Sahara, according to McCann. As first reported by our I-Team, troopers opened fire, and the suspect died at the scene.
All southbound lanes of I-15 have reopened after a lengthy closure that stretched from Tuesday afternoon through the late-night hours.
Northbound I-15 reopened just before 5 p.m. after being closed for hours between Spring Mountain Road and Charleston Boulevard.
Video provided by a witness who was driving southbound on I-15 when the chase proceeded past him shows police forcing the car into a spin. As police stop the vehicle, gunshots are fired by officers who surrounded the car. The video is below.
Milton Burns told 8 News Now he saw everything unfold. He recounted a trooper threw spikes on the interstate to slow the suspect down — that’s when the trooper was hit.
“Ah man, it was just crazy!” Burns exclaimed. “… That was the craziest part of it all, just watching half of a body out of a windshield, just being like a ragdoll, just going back and forth.”
He says troopers fired 20 to 25 shots at the man.
One of the first drivers who stopped at the scene was stuck for close to half an hour but commends law enforcement for their swift action.
“They did a fabulous job in a matter of two or three minutes, of getting the whole area secure and shutting down the highway,” said Steve Schnell.
Now, well wishes are pouring in for the trooper involved.
“I pray for him,” Burns said. “It was a terrible thing. No one deserves that.”