A man attempting to rob a pawn shop in Las Vegas on Labor Day took one of the employees hostage in order to make his escape once police arrived on scene. But his plan didn’t work out.
According to KSNV, the female hostage is being hailed as a hero by the Las Vegas Metro Police Department because her brave actions in a life-or-death situation likely saved her own life as well as potentially the lives of others.
Multiple police officers and a police helicopter arrived on scene shortly after 1 p.m., and a short time later the suspect — wearing a motorcycle helmet — emerged from the store with a female employee held hostage with a handgun pointed to her head.
However, within a split second, the woman managed to knock the gun loose from the suspect’s hands, inadvertently firing off a single shot in the process, and then raced back toward the store in the momentary confusion. The suspect pulled a second handgun and pointed it toward the police only to be dropped by a single shot to the chest as officers opened fire.
“A very brave woman,” Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman said of the hostage. “The suspect in this event was well-armed, violent and showed no regard for human life.”
The suspect “had one arm around the employee’s neck and his gun held to her head. He selected a victim intending to use her as a hostage to affect his escape. However, he selected the wrong person,” Zimmerman added. “His victim showed tremendous poise and extreme bravery in a volatile situation. Her actions very well may have saved her own life.
“Under this circumstance, life-or-death situation, it’s just like they say, fight or flight. She decided she was going to fight. She didn’t want to put her life in the hands of that individual.
You can see the tense video footage of the harrowing event from three different perspectives — the body cams of two responding officers and the overhead view from the helicopter — by clicking here. Caution: Video contains some graphic content.
Once Trejo has sufficiently recovered from the gunshot wound, he will face a litany of felony charges stemming from the incident.
VIDEO: #LVMPD Asst. Sheriff Zimmerman briefed the media today on Monday's officer involved shooting incident in which three officers fired their weapons in the process of apprehending an armed robber who had taken a hostage. https://t.co/4RTPnIc1dS #LVMPDnews #OIS
— LVMPD (@LVMPD) September 6, 2018
Those charges, all of which will be enhanced by the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of the crimes, included assault on a protected person, burglary, first-degree kidnapping and robbery.
Incredibly, even after being shot by the police, Trejo reportedly still refused to surrender and police were compelled to unleash a K-9 officer on him in order to bring about his eventual submission to their commands.
As for the pawn shop and employee taken hostage, the store declined to issue any comment on the matter other than to say that the woman taken hostage did not want to be identified.
This woman was indeed quite brave and her quick thinking and decisive actions completely changed the course of the incident, which could have had a decidedly worse conclusion had she not acted when she did.
The responding officers must also be commended for their actions as well, both in showing restraint and holding fire as the suspect held his hostage in a dangerous situation and then by rapidly moving in to bring the suspect’s criminal actions to a halt with a well-placed round to the chest once the hostage had broken free.
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