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Man shot by police officer pleads guilty to assault charge

A man who was armed with a pen when he was shot by a Las Vegas police officer pleaded guilty on Tuesday to assaulting an officer with a deadly weapon.

Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Raul Rodriguez shot Hector Orellana in the leg when the 27-year-old lunged at him with a pen on March 14 near a homeless facility on Main Street in downtown Las Vegas, according to an arrest report.

After his arrest, Orellana told investigators that he was planning to stab the officer in the face because he wanted the officer to kill him so he would not have to go to prison.

During a court hearing on Tuesday, Orellana told District Judge Eric Johnson that he is being treated for schizophrenia.

“I understand that your schizophrenia may have played a role in you committing the crime,” Johnson told the defendant, as both appeared in court through a video call. “What I need to know is do you think that your schizophrenia is under enough control for you today to enter a plea?”

Orellana told the judge he understood the proceedings, and Johnson determined that he was competent to plead guilty to the felony.

About noon on March 14, Rodriguez saw Orellana and another man fighting near the homeless facility, and Rodriguez stepped out of his police vehicle to try to break it up, according to the arrest report. Orellana then kicked Rodriguez and threw a punch at the officer before pulling a plastic Bic pen out of his pocket and raising it.

Rodriguez stepped backward and fell onto the ground, the report said. Orellana then rushed toward Rodriguez, who shot at him three times, striking him once.

A witness told police that Orellana was holding a “shank” when he was shot, while another described the object as a knife, the report said. Rodriguez later told investigators that “he was in fear for his life because he thought the suspect was going to stab him,” the report said.

The fight and shooting were caught on surveillance cameras. Rodriguez was not wearing a body camera, which only lower-ranking officers are required to have.

After his arrest, Orellana told police that he heard voices in his head that made him paranoid.

Prosecutors said that they had no opposition to the judge placing Orellana on probation if he were accepted into the District Court’s mental health court program, according to the guilty plea agreement. Orellana’s public defender, Fargol Ghadiri, said Tuesday that he was accepted into the program.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Eric Goodman set bail at $100,000 on March 16 after Orellana had an outburst in the courtroom. A week later, Goodman ordered Orellana to be held without bail, court records show.

A sentencing hearing for Orellana is scheduled for Sept. 1.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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