Las Vegas authorities have released the name of the suspect they shot and killed after mistaking his cell phone for a gun.
Keith Childress, 23, was wanted for multiple violent felonies out of Arizona before his encounter with police Thursday.
U.S. Marshals were trailing the suspect in Las Vegas when he fled around 2 p.m. and local law enforcement was called in to assist in the chase. Although Las Vegas police said they were told Childress was wanted on attempted murder charges, the man’s former attorney later said that was not the case.
Officers pursued the suspect and found him in the 8300 block of Gilded Crown Court, on the west end of the city.
He was holding something in his right hand and, thinking it was a gun, police ordered him to drop the weapon.
“Believing that the suspect was armed, in a residential area, and wanted for attempted murder, two officers fired at the suspect, striking him,” according to a police press release.
Captain Matt McCarthy of the department’s Office of Internal Oversight and Constitutional Policing said in a video statement that police “continually demanded” that the suspect drop his weapon before they opened fire.
“At one point the officers told the suspect not to advance on the officers,” he said.
“However, the suspect did not listen and quickly began to advance on the officers, concealing his right hand, which the officers believed was holding a firearm.”
Two officers opened fire and shot Childress several times.
The wanted man died at the scene — and officers quickly realized he’d been holding a cell phone, not a gun.
The Clark County Office of the Coroner said Saturday that his death, from multiple gunshot wounds, had been ruled a homicide.
Childress’ lawyer said that he’d been wanted for missing the verdict of his trial in Phoenix, which resulted in convictions for burglary, armed robbery, kidnapping, theft and aggravated assault.
Police said that the officers’ names will be released shortly.
This incident marked the 16th officer-involved shooting in Las Vegas in 2015.