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October 31, 2014

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Officer-involved shooting rattles nearby neighbors, sending them packing

Updated Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013 | 5:17 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Valerie Sahagun examines the path of a bullet that whizzed through her home early Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013.

Hours after two bullets pierced Victor Estremera's front door -- narrowly missing his girlfriend and infant daughter -- the young family was packing boxes, leaving their Las Vegas home of five days to return to San Bernardino, Calif.

Metro Police had just shot and killed Estremera's neighbor, a man threatening his own family with a gun early Saturday at the Mountain Vista apartment complex in the 3900 block of Mountain Vista Street.

"My little one was asleep," Estremera said, pointing at a set of green evidence markers lining the path of one bullet that sliced through a couch cushion and armrest. "The cops just said we should be thankful we're alive."

Valerie Sahagun, Estremera's girlfriend, said she was almost hit by the other bullet while she was asleep on another couch in the living room.

The young couple moved to Las Vegas on Monday hoping to find work and start a new life for their family. But the fear of almost losing their youngest daughter, Kylee Estremera, 1, has made them reconsider the move.

"If it was me or him (who had been shot), we're older and we've lived our lives," Sahagun said. "She's my baby."

Investigators don't know yet whose bullets went whizzing into Estremera's apartment. Metro Officer Laura Meltzer believes the suspect may have fired at least one round before officers arrived.

Dispatchers sent officers to the home shortly before 2 a.m. after receiving a call with an open line. Arguing could be heard in the background and someone asked another person to put a gun down, according to reports.

Metro officials initially said the gunman opened fire on the officers before they shot back, but Meltzer later clarified that the man only pointed his weapon.

The man, who has not yet been identified, was rushed to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, where he later died.

Three officers were involved in the shooting; Meltzer said they will be identified in two days and have all been placed on routine administrative leave.

A pack of neighborhood children roamed outside the gunman's home shortly after police left the crime scene Saturday afternoon, chattering in Spanish about their strange neighbor and all the cop cars that had flooded the parking lot outside.

"He's always standing out there with a gun," said Keila Hernandez, 10.

Keila's father, Gil Hernandez, said domestic disturbances are common inside the apartment complex, though shootings are rare.

Steps away from Hernandez's apartment, Estremera and Sahagun weaved around the damaged brown couches as they frantically stuffed their belongings into boxes and bins. Shattered glass littered their living room -- one of the bullets struck a sliding glass door, too.

"Did you get everything in there?" Estremera said anxiously as his girlfriend sat in another room.

"I'm trying," Sahagun responded, her voice trailing.

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