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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas police deployed multiple non-lethal de-escalation tactics before fatally shooting a knife-wielding man last weekend, police say.
On Saturday, Nov. 25, at around 2:55 a.m., a woman called 911 to report that her son was feeling suicidal and left his home in the 3900 block of Landsdown Place with a knife, Assistant Sheriff Sasha Larkin told media in a briefing.
Police identified her son as 51-year-old Robert Pitcher.
The arriving officer did not find Pitcher and went to his house to talk with his mother and wife, who told him that Pitcher’s son had died recently, Assistant Sheriff Larkin said.
Pitcher’s family told police that he told his family he was “going to be with his recently deceased son” before taking a large kitchen knife and leaving the home.
When the officer left the house, he saw Pitcher in the area and immediately called back up to de-escalate the situation.
Larkin said the officers established two “immediate actions teams,” comprised of officers with designated roles emphasizing de-escalation tactics, communication, and low-lethal options.
When officers approached Pitcher, he placed the knife to his throat and refused to drop it after officers repeatedly asked him to. Officers then shot him with low-lethal bean bag rounds in an attempt to get him to drop the knife, Larkin explained.
After he was hit multiple times, he focused on officers, who then deployed Tasers twice. Pitcher then approached the officers, who moved backward, firing more low-lethal rounds.
In total, police fired 18 low-lethal rounds.
Pitcher once again approached the officers, causing them to shoot him multiple times.
The three officers involved were identified as Philippe Dinh, 29, an officer with LVMPD since 2021, Oscar Nuno-Reynoso, 22, an officer since 2022, and Kyle Corso, 34, an officer since 2021, all assigned to the East Community Policing Division, Southeast Area Command.
Between the three officers, they fired 17 rounds.
Medical personnel then responded to the scene and immediately began to use life-saving measures before pronouncing Pitcher dead at the scene.
Pitcher would have faced three counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon on a protected person, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a protected person, and one count of resisting with a weapon had he survived.
“Our officers showed great restraint and humanity when they encountered Pitcher, by using communication and repeated low-lethal options to de-escalate the situation,” Assistant Sheriff Larkin said.
She explained that officers undergo “extensive” crisis intervention training, specifically to communicate with those experiencing a mental or emotional crisis.
“Each investigation that has reportable deadly force or reportable use of force, whether it’s low-level force or deadly use of force, it is investigated thoroughly,” Larkin said. “Ultimately, each officer is going to have to justify their use of deadly force and each round that they fired.”
“To our community, as we go into this holiday season, if you or someone you know is experiencing any sort of mental or emotional crisis, you can always contact the National Suicide Prevention Hot Line,” Larkin added.
The Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255. Dial 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
This incident is the third fatal officer-involved shooting for Metro in 2023 and the seventh overall. At this time in 2022, there had been 12 officer-involved shootings, seven of which were fatal.
For a list of local and national resources for mental health, click here.