Local News


UPDATE: Las Vegas police admit to mistakes made before University Medical Center shooting

Posted at 10:01 AM, Sep 25, 2017

UPDATE SEPT. 28: A police official says mistakes were made in leaving a suicidal man alone in a hospital emergency room, where he wielded a stun gun obtained from a jail guard's equipment bag before a patrol officer shot him dead.

Assistant Clark County Sheriff Todd Fasulo said Thursday the arresting officer could face departmental discipline after internal affairs reviews of the killing early Monday of 31-year-old Cody Leighland O'Bryan.

Fasulo aired a soundless clip of Officer Thomas Rybacki's body-camera video showing O'Bryan aiming the stun gun seconds before Rybacki killed him next to a hospital gurney.

Fasulo says O'Bryan had been arrested on a felony warrant after calling 911, threatening suicide.

O'Bryan had been taken to the hospital because jailers said he was too intoxicated for jail.

During the night it was determined O’Bryan would be at the hospital longer than expected. At 3:26 a.m. a corrections officer arrived to drop off the relief officer duty bag which contained leg restraints, a radio, and a Taser electronic control device.

At that time, O’Bryan was restrained with a handcuff to his left wrist attached to the bed, and a leg restraint to his left ankle and the bed. O’Bryan’s clothing and bed sheets needed to be changed due to him urinating on himself. While the corrections officer was still in the room, Rybacki released O’Bryan from his wrist restraint, leaving only the leg restraint on his ankle. The corrections officer slid the duty bag under the sink in the room at 3:28 a.m. and then left the hospital.

Rybacki then assisted O’Bryan in changing out of his wet clothing and into a hospital gown. Rybacki briefly left the room, leaving the duty bag under the sink.

Police said O’Bryan then got off of the bed, and at 4:04 a.m. he removed the Taser from the duty bag and placed it on the floor to his left, behind the bed and out of sight. At 4:05 a.m. Officer Rybacki entered the room and moved the bag into the hallway.

At about 4:10 a.m. a nurse and a security guard entered the room to get O’Bryan back into the bed. O’Bryan then pulled the Taser out and pointed it at the security guard.  Rybacki came into the room and O’Bryan pointed the Taser in his direction. Rybacki stepped out of the room and commanded O’Bryan to drop the Taser.

He then stepped back into the room and fired one round from his duty handgun, which struck O’Bryan. O’Bryan was pronounced deceased at the scene by medical personnel.

This is the 17th officer involved shooting for 2017.

The LVMPD Force Investigation Team is currently investigating the officer’s use of force in this incident. The findings will be forwarded to the Clark County District Attorney for review.

An examination of this incident is also being conducted by the LVMPD Critical Incident Review Team. This review will focus on policy, tactics and training as it relates to this use of force.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Watch the press conference below.

UPDATE SEPT 27: The Clark County Coroner has identified the man shot by the officer at University Medical Center as 31-year-old Cody O'Bryan. The official cause of death is a gunshot to the head.

35-year-old Thomas Rybacki has been named as the officer that fatally shot O'Bryan. Rybacki has been employed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department since Sept. 2014 and is currently assigned to the Community Policing Division, Spring Valley Area Command.

Rybacki has been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a review of this incident.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Las Vegas police officer was involved in a shooting around 4 a.m. at University Medical Center.

Around 10:40 p.m. on Sept. 24, a suspect called police saying he was suicidal. The man told a dispatcher he was going to "blast it out with police" and had a gun.

Police found the suspect passed out on the ground at the intersection of Palm Hurst Drive and Charleston Boulevard. Police tried to book him into Clark County Detention Center but he was too intoxicated. Police then took him to University Medical Center and that is when a corrections officer showed up to the hospital to switch shifts with the officer.

The corrections officer had a bag, which included a taser, that he placed in the emergency room with the suspect. When the corrections officer and the officer stepped out of the room the suspect went into the bag and took the taser. A nurse and security guard then walked into the room and the suspect pointed the taser at the security guard.  The officer stepped into the room and shot the suspect once.

13 Action News crime and safety expert and retired Las Vegas police Lt. Randy Sutton says the investigation will likely deal with two issues -- one whether the shooting was justified and the other whether any police protocol was violated by leaving the bag with the taser unattended.  

Sutton says he believes the officer was justified to shoot in the situation because the suspect had already made threats earlier and could have incapacitated the security guard with the taser.

Registered nurse Katrina Alvarez-Hyman says hearing what happened, she's surprised because usually when police bring suspects into hospitals, they're never left unattended. She says nurses are also trained to deal with possibly suicidal patients.

"We don't have guns on us. All we have is our smarts to remember our training."

Police have had encounters with the suspect before over suicide and there was an outstanding felony warrant out for his arrest.

University Medical Center released a statement after the shooting.

“Patient, family, employee and physician safety is paramount at UMC. UMC’s Department of Public Safety works closely with METRO every day to ensure a safe environment. This morning’s incident happened in a contained and locked down unit of our Emergency Department. Thankfully, no one else was injured and our Emergency Department team immediately went back to the bedside to care for our other emergent patients. UMC’s professionalism, training and commitment to care was very evident especially during this unfortunate circumstance.”