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October 25, 2014

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A look at Metro officers who died in the line of duty

Image

Sam Morris

The body of officer Trenton Nettleton is carried out of St. Elizabeth Anne Seton Church after funeral services, November 25, 2009.

Updated Sunday, June 8, 2014 | 5:18 p.m.

The death of a Metro Police officer in the line of duty is relatively rare. With the execution-style shooting deaths of Metro Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo on Sunday, the department suffered its 13th and 14th deaths in the past 50 years, and the first since 2013.

Deaths for Metro officers have come from a wide variety of circumstance; some accidental, some traffic related, and some killed by criminals. Here’s a look at Metro deaths in the line of duty since the 1970s.

    • David Vanbuskirk

      David VanBuskirk

      Officer David VanBuskirk, 36, died July 22, 2013, while conducting a helicopter rescue of a stranded hiker on Mount Charleston. VanBuskirk fell to his death after he was able to secure the hiker to the helicopter’s hoist cable, saving the man’s life.

      VanBuskirk served in Metro's patrol and narcotics units until 2007 when he was assigned to Metro’s Search and Rescue section. As a Search and Rescue officer, VanBuskirk had been recognized for saving numerous lives during hundreds of rescues.

    • Officer Daniel Leach. Metro Police corrections officer killed in a crash on U.S. 95 near Searchlight.  Leach had worked for Metro as a corrections officer for 25 years.

      Daniel J. Leach (Died Nov. 21, 2009)

      Leach, 49, a corrections officer with 25 years of experience with Metro, was killed in a two-vehicle accident on U.S. 95 while driving a prisoner transport van from the Clark County Detention Center to the Tucker Holding Facility in Laughlin. Leach joined Metro in June 1984. He grew up in Louisiana before taking a job with Metro.

    • Officer Trevor Nettleton, 30 years old,  had been with Metro for 3 years at his time of death.

      Trevor Allen Nettleton (Died Nov. 19, 2009)

      Nettleton, 30, was killed in the garage of his home in North Las Vegas after six gang members fatally attacked him in an attempted robbery. Nettleton, a Marine Corps veteran with nine years of service, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, before joining Metro in 2006, exchanged gunfire with one of the gang members before being shot in the chest.

      Officers captured all six men linked to Nettleton's death, with two of the suspected gang members facing the death penalty and going to trial this year.

    • Officer Milburn Beitel III

      Milburn Wilbur Beitel (Died Oct. 8, 2009)

      Beitel, 30, who joined Metro in 2003, was killed after his police cruiser crashed into a light pole while responding to a non-emergency call near the intersection of Washington Avenue and Nellis Boulevard. Beitel, a Silverado High School alumnus and former Marine, had swerved his patrol car to avoid a civilian vehicle merging into his lane.

    • Officer James Manor.

      James Le'Treall Manor (Died May 7, 2009)

      Manor, 28, a few days short of his second year with Metro, was killed after colliding on Flamingo Road with a pickup truck. He was traveling close to 100 mph with his lights and siren off en route to a domestic violence call. Manor, a Clark High School alumnus, joined Metro in 2007.

      Responding officers initially arrested the driver of the pickup truck, 45-year-old Calvin Darling, on charges of driving under the influence and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, but the charges were dropped by former District Attorney David Roger later in 2009.

      "This case was a tragedy all around," Roger said at the time.

    • Henry Prendes (Died Feb. 1, 2006)

      Prendes, 37, a Metro sergeant, was killed after being shot in the head "execution style" with an assault rifle while responding to a domestic violence call in southwest Las Vegas. Prendes, a 14-year Metro veteran, responded to a call of a man beating a woman with a stick and destroying property at a home near Russell Road and Durango Drive.

      The killer, 22-year-old aspiring rapper Amir Crump, shot Prendes in the chest and then in the head as the officer approached the doorway of the home. Crump then engaged in a fierce gunfight with Metro officers, shooting another officer and firing more than 40 rounds before being killed.

      "The tragedy left behind traumatized officers, a bullet-riddled neighborhood and a community mourning the loss of one of the police department's finest," Las Vegas Sun columnist Jeff German wrote.

    • Russell Lee Peterson (Died March 24, 1998)

      Peterson, 39, an eight-year Metro veteran and member of the department's Search and Rescue team, was killed in a landslide during a training exercise at Mount Charleston.

      Peterson was belaying a volunteer on a climb up a frozen waterfall when a large chunk ice broke off and struck Peterson, breaking his neck and killing him. Hired in 1990, Peterson worked in Patrol, Training and Gang units before joining the Search & Rescue unit in 1996.

    • Officer Donald C. Weese.

      Donald Charles Weese (Died Oct. 23, 1992)

      Weese, 25, a two-year Metro veteran, was killed after colliding with a civilian vehicle and spinning into a traffic light pole near the intersection of Charleston Boulevard and Eastern Avenue.

      While en route to a gun call, Weese reportedly attempted to turn on a red light while his lights and siren were off when he was hit by a driver who did not see the car turning. Weese was killed instantly by the collision.

    • 1980s

      • Marc Alan Kahre, 34, died Oct. 11, 1988; cause of death: gunfire

    • 1970s

      • Clark Anthony Wooldridge, 22, died Aug. 12, 1979; cause of death: automobile accident

      • James Walter Harbin, 22, died March 18, 1979; cause of death: gunfire

      • James Richard Rogan, 41, died Feb. 22, 1978; cause of death: gunfire

    • 1960s

      • Sgt. Paul De Weert, 60, died Oct. 8, 1967; cause of death: gunfire

      • William Robert Fortye, 32, died Oct. 28, 1966; cause of death: gunfire

    • 1950s

      • George Hart, 40, died Nov. 12, 1957; cause of death: assault

      • Wilbur Eugene McGee, 33, died Nov. 4, 1955; cause of death: gunfire

      • Robert F. Dula Jr., 26, died April 9, 1955; cause of death: motorcycle hit-and-run

      • Winnie Austin Hansen, 56, died Dec. 26, 1950; cause of death: struck by a car

    • 1930s

      • Ernest James May, 38, died June 8, 1933; cause of death: gunfire

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