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Community comes together to support injured Nevada Highway Patrol trooper

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-28 08:18:13-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Thoughts and prayers continue to flow in for the Nevada Highway Patrol trooper fighting for his life at University Medical Center.

Nevada Highway Patrol says he was struck by a car law enforcement was pursuing on Interstate 15. The driver was shot and killed by police.

In a show of solidarity, local tow truck drivers honored the officer by flashing their lights in a procession outside of UMC Tuesday evening.

“We know a lot of these troopers personally and so it hits close to home,” Jose Norena, operations manager at Big Valley Towing, said.

NHP troopers are leaning on each other, holding out hope for their injured colleague.

RELATED STORY: Nevada Highway Patrol trooper critical after I-15 incident

“When one of us is hurt out there trying to do their job, we all feel it and we’re just gathering together and giving all of our support to our fellow trooper and his family right now,” Trooper Travis Smaka said.

The trooper is in critical condition at the hospital after being struck by a car being chased by law enforcement. NHP says it started with a possible carjacking near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Officials say the injured trooper has been with the force a number of years and was trying to set down some spike strips.

“There’s nothing worse than having a several thousand-pound vehicle with the accelerator underneath your right foot and you can command when it goes, where it goes, how fast it goes, and attempt to knock down.”

Rick McCann is the executive director of the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers, a union that represents NHP troopers. He says their objective is to stop the danger on the road, especially involving a pursuit.

“They’re trying to take these people off the street who have demonstrated that they will not be taken off the street through normal traditional means,’ he said.

NHP says the trooper was swept into the windshield of the suspected thief’s car and the car eventually crashed on the I-15 near Sahara Avenue. Troopers say the driver tried to grab the injured trooper’s gun before they were shot and killed by police. McCann says troopers risk their lives every day to protect innocent drivers.

“These troopers know it and they still do the job and that’s why I’m humbled every day to see their courage and their heroism each and every time I have to deal with these things,” he said.

This investigation is being taken over by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department because of the shooting. A fundraiser is in the works to help the injured trooper and his family.