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Helicopter footage shows Strip car chase before fatal police shooting

Footage from a Las Vegas police helicopter presented Monday shows a September car chase on the Strip that ended in the fatal police shooting of a 37-year-old man.

The footage was one of several clips played during a fact-finding review Monday probing the Metropolitan Police Department shooting of Matthew Patton on Sept. 9. Las Vegas police said four officers opened fire on Patton after he brandished two knives, then charged at police on the 2600 block of Las Vegas Blvd. South near Sahara Avenue.

In the hearing Monday, Metro detective Jason Leavitt testified that police initially pulled Patton over at 11:09 p.m. for an apparent traffic violation on Joe W. Brown Drive, near Karen Avenue. Bodycam footage showed Patton repeatedly refusing to get out of the car.

An officer could be heard saying, “Come on man, we’ll get all this sorted out, and figure out what is going on.”

Patton then took his cellphone, placed it on his dashboard and started livestreaming the traffic stop on Facebook.

“Here I am. I don’t know what to do now,” Patton said.

In a second Facebook livestream clip, Patton could be heard saying “I really need some help right now, some advice.”

Leavitt said Patton made a comment to officers about “not going back to prison” before speeding off. Police briefly pursued him, then ended the chase. But a police helicopter hovered above, documenting the path of Patton’s car.

As Patton drove near Rainbow Boulevard, Leavitt said, police deployed stop sticks, which punctured his front and rear passenger tires. Helicopter footage showed Patton continuing to drive as sparks shot from his car’s rims, eventually making his way back toward the Strip.

A patrol car then approached Patton from behind, causing him to wreck, footage shows.

Patton then emerged from the car and started running from officers, Leavitt said. As he ran, Patton grabbed two knives — one from a sheath hanging around his neck.

“The decedent was seen rolling up his sleeves and backing up as if getting ready to fight officers,” Leavitt said.

On body cam footage, police could be heard repeatedly yelling at Patton to “drop the knife” as they ran after him.

According to video footage and Leavitt’s testimony, Patton then ran toward officers holding two knives, prompting them to open fire. Patton briefly disappeared behind an electrical box, which sat in a median.

He then reemerged from behind the box, dropping “at least one of the knives” as police fatally shot him, Leavitt said. Patton’s other hand was not visible in available footage of the shooting.

“Both of the knives were located in that median,” Leavitt said.

The officers who opened fire were Gregory Hilton, 36; Francisco Mazon, 29; Shaun Ward, 34; and Nicholas Grazioso, 26. In a preliminary decision, the Clark County district attorney’s office determined no charges were warranted against any of the officers.

In the time that the fact-finding review process has been in place, a preliminary determination has not been overturned following a review, and one police officer has been charged in connection with a death.

During the Monday hearing, an ombudsman appointed to the case on behalf of Patton asked Leavitt if police could have avoided opening fire on Patton.

“With Mr. Patton closing the distance the way he (did), I do believe the firearm was the appropriate weapon to use,” Leavitt told the ombudsman, Terrence Jackson.

At the time of the shooting, Patton had an extradition warrant out for his arrest from Utah for burglary, police said. He was listed as a sex offender in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database.

Mandy McKellar presided over Monday’s hearing at the Clark County Government Center. Chief Deputy District Attorney Bill Flinn asked questions on behalf of the district attorney’s office.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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