Wild chase preceded shooting by North Las Vegas police officer

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So much for a routine traffic stop.

Instead Felix Cuautle-Coyolt led a 23-year veteran of the North Las Vegas Police Department on a nearly 10-minute chase Sunday morning that ended with the officer firing five shots before the suspect was arrested in a dumpster yard, according to police.

At a press conference Wednesday, police Chief Pam Ojeda released new details and footage of the traffic stop that led officer Robert Kryszcuk to open fire, marking the second time this year that a North Las Vegas officer had fired a weapon.

Kryszczuk first encountered Cuautle-Coyolt about 8:30 a.m. while doing speed control on the 215 Beltway at Pecos Road, a portion of the highway that has stop lights.

The 34-year-old suspect, driving a maroon Ford F350 pickup, flew past the officer, who was on a motorcycle, allegedly going 78 mph in a 45 mph zone, according to Ojeda. The truck, police later learned, had been reported missing in North Las Vegas on Aug. 5. The plates on the truck had also been switched out, Ojeda said.

Footage from Kryszczuk’s body camera released Wednesday showed the beginning of the officer’s pursuit. It took several minutes for Kryszczuk to catch up to the truck, and the chase eventually passed Lamb Boulevard.

Approaching Range Road, where several cars were slowing down at the light, Cuautle-Coyolt attempted to swerve around the vehicles to turn south on Range.

Seeing this, Ojeda said, the 48-year-old officer “canceled his pursuit.” But the suspect lost control as he was turning, bringing the truck to a brief stop.

Kryszczuk stepped off his motorcycle, drew his 9mm Glock handgun and demanded the suspect exit the truck. That’s when Cuautle-Coyolt accelerated toward the officer and his motorcycle, according to Ojeda, prompting Kryszczuk to pump five rounds at the truck at 8:38 a.m.

Ojeda said Wednesday that the officer believed the suspect was intentionally trying to hit him.

At least three rounds struck the vehicle. The suspect was not hit.

Cuautle-Coyolt then “drove recklessly” away, at one point driving in the wrong direction on the Beltway in an apparent attempt to reach the nearby northbound Interstate 15 interchange, Ojeda said.

The pickup eventually got caught on restraining cables on the median. Police spokesman Eric Leavitt said officers believe Cuautle-Coyolt thought he could make it onto the I-15 by jumping the median but did not see the cables from his elevated position in the truck.

From there, he abandoned the pickup and took off running, jumping from the highway overpass into a dumpster yard at 5850 Nellis Blvd., according to Ojeda.

Officers set up a perimeter with the help of a Metropolitan Police Department K-9 unit, and just after 9:30 a.m., K-9 Yogi — a Belgian Malinois who’s been working since June 2018 — found the suspect hiding inside a dumpster.

He was taken into custody “without further incident,” Ojeda said. Cuautle-Coyolt faces charges of attempted murder, assault on a protected person with the use of a deadly weapon, possession of a stolen vehicle, disobeying a peace officer while endangering others, possession of a credit card without the owner’s consent and a speeding infraction.

Cuautle-Coyolt remains held at the Las Vegas Detention Center. Records show he was due in North Las Vegas Justice Court for a status hearing on Wednesday.

Kryszczuk has been placed on paid leave pending the department’s investigation into his use of force.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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