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October 25, 2014

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Lack of crisis-intervention training dogs Metro in officer-involved shooting

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Brian Nordli

Metro Police investigate an officer-involved shooting Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at the Oasis Ridge Apartments complex, 3040 E. Charleston Blvd.

Metro Police video

Oasis Ridge Apartments

Officers who responded to a June 4 incident in which a man described as suicidal was shot at had no special crisis-intervention training, Metro Police said Friday.

Undersheriff Jim Dixon said neither the first officer on the scene, Sgt. Mike Welch, nor his first backup, Officer Dan Perry, had the specialized training.

Perry, Dixon said, remains on paid administrative leave after firing two shots at Thomas Lang, 49, on June 4 at the Oasis Ridge Apartments complex at 3040 E. Charleston Boulevard. Lange, who reportedly was throwing softball-sized rocks at Welch and his squad car, had reached into his pocket and pulled out a black cellphone that Perry mistook for a firearm.

Although Perry’s shots were errant, a Metro internal team and the District Attorney’s Office continue investigations.

During a news conference Friday afternoon to discuss the officer-involved shooting, Dixon said Lange was arrested on counts of assault on a police officer and assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon. Lange remains in the Clark County Detention Center on $4,000 bond.

Lange’s mother called authorities from out-of-state the afternoon of June 4 to report her son in Las Vegas was suicidal. Dixon said Welch and Perry, as patrol officers, were the closest to Lange’s apartment complex and the first to arrive. Dispatchers called for a crisis-intervention officer to respond, but none arrived before the shooting occurred, Dixon said.

He added that Metro’s top hierarchy is aware not enough officers are trained to respond to crisis-intervention situations and is examining how to increase such training.

Perry has been employed by Metro Police since 2008.

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