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August 28, 2014

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Police: Suspect charged officer with same knives used in slaying

Click to enlarge photo

Nathan Benson

Click to enlarge photo

Nathan Benson

Nathan Benson, the murder suspect Metro Police shot Monday after he charged an officer with two knives, said he wished police would have killed him, according to an arrest report released Tuesday.

The officer-involved shooting happened at 9:52 p.m. near Rainbow Boulevard and Alta Drive in the northwest valley.

At the scene, investigators recovered two knives with red handles — the same ones police allege he used to kill 44-year-old Shanna Ralston on Sunday. The knives appeared to have dried blood on them, the arrest report states.

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has charged Benson with murder with use of a deadly weapon, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting a public officer with use of a dangerous weapon, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

The fatal stabbing happened about 12:10 a.m. Sunday in the 6300 block of Greyhawk Avenue and was possibly the result of an altercation, police said.

Benson’s mother was renting a room from Ralston, who also went by the name Shanna Fernandez, according to the arrest report. Years earlier, Ralston had been Benson’s Judo coach.

Benson recently had been released from jail and was staying at the victim’s home with his mother, the report states. Another renter saw Benson and Ralston watching television shortly before he heard a woman screaming.

A woman found Ralston, who had been stabbed, on the ground, police said. As they waited for emergency crews to arrive, the victim allegedly said Benson had stabbed her, according to the arrest report.

Less than an hour later, Ralston died from her wounds. The Clark County Coroner’s Office ruled her death a homicide.

The slaying triggered a manhunt for the 27-year-old Benson, and police released his description and prior booking photos Monday.

At 8:40 p.m. Monday, a citizen called police and reported seeing Benson in the area of Rainbow Boulevard and Alta Drive, Metro Deputy Chief Jim Owens said.

Officers set up a perimeter but didn’t spot him, Owens said. A short time later, another citizen called police with information about a place where Benson frequently hung out, Owens said.

Police eventually saw Benson walking near Whitesands Avenue, but when he caught sight of the officers, he fled south on Rainbow Boulevard with the two knives, the arrest report states.

Officers caught up with him near Alta Drive, and Benson raised one knife over his head and charged an officer, the arrest report states.

Owens said Benson ignored commands to drop the weapons, prompting two officers to fire at him.

Benson was struck at least once and was transported to University Medical Center, where he was treated for his injuries.

Benson has since been transferred to the Clark County Detention Center, according to jail records. He was being held without bail.

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  1. Good job Metro.