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Las Vegas lunchtime attack leaves five dead

A Las Vegas police officer stands in the car park at the WalMart where the killers died. Picture: Getty Images

A Las Vegas police officer stands in the car park at the WalMart where the killers died. Picture: Getty Images

  • by MICHELLE RINDELS AND MARTIN GRIFFITH
 

Two police officers having lunch were fatally shot in a point-blank ambush by a man and woman, who then fled to a nearby Wal-Mart where they killed a third person and then themselves in an apparent suicide pact.

One of the attackers yelled: “This is a revolution!” but a motive remains under investigation, Las Vegas police spokesman Larry Hadfield said.

The incident took place on Sunday in an aging shopping centre, north-east of the Las Vegas Strip. Police were called at 11:22am to the pizzeria, where one of the officers was able to fire back at his assailants.

Shots were reported five minutes later at a nearby Wal-Mart, where the attackers gunned down a person just inside the front door and exchanged gunfire with police before killing themselves, police said.

The female suspect shot the male suspect before killing herself. The Wal-Mart victim’s identity hasn’t been confirmed, and the suspects’ names have not been released.

The attack at a CiCi’s Pizza restaurant killed Officers Alyn Beck, 41, and Igor Soldo, 31, who are both husbands and fathers.

“It’s a tragic day,” Sheriff Doug Gillespie said at a news conference on Sunday. “But we still have a community to police, and we still have a community to protect. We will be out there doing it with our heads held high, but with an emptiness in our hearts.”

For added safety, officers who normally work alone will be paired up with another officer for a time, Mr Gillespie said.

Both officers were pronounced dead at University Medical Centre. Mr Beck had been with the department since 2001 and leaves behind a wife and three children. Mr Soldo had been with the force since 2006 and is survived by a wife and baby, police said.

He was described as a good father and a “great guy” by his sister-in-law, Colleen Soldo of Beatrice, Nebraska. She said he attended high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, and previously worked as a corrections officer.

Sheree Burns, 48, told the Las Vegas Sun she was eating at the restaurant, seated just behind the two officers when a man came up to one of the officers and shot him in the head.

She said she ducked under her table but peeked up and saw the other officer being shot.

She said the man took an officer’s handgun and the two attackers fled.

Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill said the male suspect yelled “everyone get out” before shooting at Wal-Mart. The suspects then walked to the back of the store.

Wal-Mart employees and shoppers were taken to a nearby women’s clothing store to be interviewed by police.

The restaurant and Wal-Mart remained closed as detectives processed evidence. Mr McMahill said the investigation is “very complex” because it involves more than 1,000 witnesses.

Sunday’s killings come less than a year after the Las Vegas police department’s most recent on-duty death. Officer David VanBuskirk died while rescuing a stranded hiker by helicopter on 22 July, 2013.

The department’s most recent on-duty shooting death happened on 1 February, 2006, when Sergeant Henry Prendes was ambushed during a domestic violence call.

 

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