A 23-year-old man who fatally shot himself after an hour-long argument with police in Las Vegas last year has had a past interaction with officers due to mental health problems, officials said Tuesday.
Colon Police Department detective Marc Colon, who was in charge of the department’s investigation, answered questions about Jose Hernandez’s death during a fact check Tuesday morning at the Clark County Government Center. The hearings, which the county passed in 2013, come when the Clark County Attorney’s Office makes an interim decision not to bring criminal charges after a police fatality shot or death in custody.
Hernandez died on April 18, 2020 after shooting himself during a barricade situation with police in the back yard of a house on the 3600 Block of Colton Avenue near Cheyenne Avenue and North Las Vegas Boulevard. Hernandez’s mother called the police at 10:50 am after Hernandez, who had a gun, damaged her home and threatened her for failing to bring him food, Colon said Tuesday.
Before police arrived at the scene, dispatchers found that Hernandez had previously had two contacts with officers regarding mental health issues, Colon said.
In June 2018, Hernandez was admitted to Clark County Detention Center after threatening to kill his mother and police took two guns he had.
In February 2019, Hernandez stated, “he wanted the police to shoot him because he wanted to die,” said Colon. How this incident ended was not discussed at the hearing.
After Hernandez’s mother called the police, he left his apartment on the 3200 block on Sandy Lane. Police helicopter footage and body-worn camera footage released Tuesday showed officers following Hernandez as he walked down the street and hopped a fence in the back yard of the house on Colton Avenue.
When he was in the back yard of the house, Hernandez fired two shots in the air with a pistol, Colon said.
Crisis negotiators tried to negotiate with Hernandez for almost five hours. The officer brought him a cell phone, food, and water, Colon said.
“He was holding a gun to his head the whole time,” he said.
At 4:30 p.m., SWAT officers fired deadly shots at Hernandez, trying to get him to drop the gun. Police fired foam balls and pepper balls filled with a powder similar to pepper spray, Colon said.
Hernandez shot himself when police fired the low-fatal shots, he said. Colon told Terry Jackson, the ombudsman who represented the public and Hernandez’s family at the hearing, that the department’s internal investigation was investigating who decided to fire the low-fatal rounds.
No officers fired a gun during the stalemate, Colon said.
Contact Katelyn Newberg at [email protected] or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.