Las Vegas police and a pair of murder suspects exchanged gunsfire during a high-speed chase last week, with the officer shooting at the fugitives through his own windshield, eventually killing one of the men and wounding the other, officials said.
Video of the dramatic incident released Tuesday by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows officer William Umana aiming his service weapon and firing through his windshield and firing at Fidel Miranda, 22, and Rene Nunez, 30, as the pair fired back and attempted to flee in a black SUV, according to LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly.
As Umana, 43, chased the suspects, who were suspected of fatally shooting a man at a carwash that morning, a second police cruiser gave chase despite a warning from Umana to stay back, and was hit at least twice by gunfire from Miranda and Nunez and was forced to drop back, Kelly told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.
Nunez — who also goes by the alias “Kreeeepper”, armed with a stolen 9mm handgun, bailed out as the black Ford Expedition the pair were driving was still moving, and tried to enter a nearby school, but the door was locked, police said.
As the car veered into a wall, Miranda —also known by his alias “Cabezon” — moved to the driver’s seat and tried to back up as Umana hopped out of his marked cruiser and continued to fire, Kelly said. While Umana had Miranda pinned down, plainclothes officer Paul Solomon, 46, approached the passenger-side window and shot Miranda with one blast from his shotgun, Kelly said.
In the video taken from Umana’s body camera, the fatal shot is obscured as Umana was on the other side of the car when Solomon shot Miranda, police said. As a plainclothes officer, Solomon was not wearing a camera, according to Kelly.
LVMPD protocol allows for police to fire a weapon while in a moving vehicle, according to Kelly, who praised Umana’s actions during the chase.
“The officer could have backed off, but he didn’t,” he said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Miranda was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Nunez, who had been wounded either during the pursuit or during the shooting earlier that morning, tried to hide but was arrested nearby. He’s been charged with the murder of 25-year-old Thomas Romero, as well as attempted murder and a slew of other charges, and is being held without bail at Clark County Detention Center, with his next court date scheduled for Aug. 23, records show.
Throughout the chase, Miranda and Nunez fired at least 34 rounds at pursuing officers, Kelly said.
The shooting was the 11th officer-involved shooting of the year in Las Vegas, and the fifth incident in which an officer fatally shot someone, Kelly told reporters.
[Photo: Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department]