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Police: Officer unintentionally shot woman as he fired at armed man

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Steve Marcus

Metro Police Lt. Leon Desimone, left, and Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts watch an officer’s body-camera video during a news conference at police headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Police discussed details about a Nov. 11, 2017, officer-involved shooting in the 700 block of Pyle Avenue.

By Ricardo Torres-Cortez (contact)

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 | 4:21 p.m.

Police Discuss Nov. 11 Shooting

Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts speaks during a news conference at Metro Police headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Police discussed details about the Nov. 11, 2017 officer-involved shooting that occurred at 780 East Pyle Avenue. Launch slideshow »

A woman wounded in a police shooting Saturday night was struck by a round fired by an officer, which went through her husband’s arm and into her stomach, according to Metro Police.

Her husband, Phillip Pitts, 41, had a loaded 9 mm handgun pressed against the woman’s stomach when the officer fired four times, Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts said today.

Officer David Nesheiwat, 33, was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues, per Metro policy.

Police received a 911 call at 5:34 p.m. reporting that a man, described as possibly armed, was choking a woman in front of a convenience store in the 700 block of Pyle Avenue, near Pollock Drive, Roberts said.

When the officer arrived, he saw the married couple struggling over the gun, Roberts said. At some point, Pitts pointed the gun to his head and threatened to shoot himself, Roberts said. The struggle continued, with the woman pleading with Pitts to not do it.

The officer, meanwhile, continued to plead with Pitts to drop the gun, and for the woman to move away, Roberts said.

Nesheiwat arrived and also ordered Pitts to drop the gun, Roberts said. A few seconds later, he fired two rounds, knocking Pitts to the ground, and two more shots as Pitts continued pointing the gun at his wife, Roberts said.

The woman told officers she had been hit and was treated by officers before medics took her to University Medical Center, where she underwent surgery, Roberts said.

Pitts died at UMC.

An investigation determined that the bullet that struck the woman had gone through Pitts’ arm, Roberts said.

The couple’s 10-year-old daughter had been trying to keep Pitts away from her mother sometime before police arrived, Roberts said.

Before firing their guns, officers are trained to weigh the backdrop of the scene and assess the danger to other officers and bystanders, Roberts said. “The intent is to save lives, not take lives … and trying to neutralize the threat as best as you can.”

The shooting was the 21st this year involving Metro Police and the 10th fatal officer-involved shooting. At the same time last year, police had investigated seven officer-involved shootings, three of them fatal.

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