August 16, 2022 - 3:32 pm
Updated August 18, 2022 - 6:08 pm
Justin Leigh Venegas went on a rampage that authorities said sparked an hourlong, 47-mile police chase with Las Vegas cops and Venegas shooting at each other.
Police said they had no choice but to pursue.
“It’s one of those rare occasions where you will see a pursuit that goes as long and as far as this one did,” said assistant Sheriff Andrew Walsh. “But definitely appropriate under the circumstances in our mission to protect the community.”
At a news briefing Tuesday about the dramatic encounter last week, the Metropolitan Police Department released more details and said it was lucky nobody was killed.
Some of the video footage highlighted at the briefing, captured from various police sources including a Metro helicopter and officers’ body-worn cameras, also showed a jarring head-on crash in which Venegas plowed into a K-9 officer’s vehicle at 67 mph, Walsh said.
“We’re very fortunate that we’re not burying that officer, or the officers that were shot at,” Walsh said.
Venegas suffered a broken leg in the crash with the police vehicle, according to his arrest report, which was released Thursday.
Police also played dramatic video that showed how the incident on Aug. 11 began and how it played out.
With a police helicopter surveying Venegas, 40, because he had allegedly carjacked a woman in May, police said, Venegas carried out a gunpoint carjacking at North Pecos Road and East Cheyenne Avenue at 7:20 p.m..
Patrol officers tried to pull him over, but he refused to stop, Walsh said. That’s when the chase began.
As the pursuit continued, video showed Venegas extending his arm out the window of the carjacked Chevy Avalanche he was driving near East Craig Road and North Fifth Street. He then fired at the two officers in a patrol car with his Smith & Wesson M&P 9 mm pistol.
He’s accused of firing four shots.
Footage from one of the officer’s body-worn cameras showed Officer Brendan Burbrink, 36, firing five shots at Venegas from the patrol car’s front passenger seat, with each of the bullets piercing the patrol car’s windshield, hitting the back of the Avalanche but not injuring Venegas, who continued to drive, reaching speeds of 100 mph.
Venegas was then shown trying to carjack a woman out of her vehicle at South Decatur Boulevard and West Desert Inn Road. She reversed the car as Venegas appeared to shoot inside.
“As she backed away, Venegas fired upon her,” Walsh said. “Thankfully, this victim of this attempted robber wasn’t seriously injured by the gunfire, and she was treated at the scene by medical personnel and released.”
In addition to Burbrink, the Metropolitan Police Department has identified the five involved officers as Cristian Mojarro, 27; Alondra Montero, 24; Amanda Montalto, 31; and Mark Sayas, 35.
All were put on paid leave pending a review, Metro said in a news release.
Venegas faces a slew of charges including multiple counts of attempted murder, battery and robbery, among others, according to court records. He is scheduled to appear in court next week.
Contact Brett Clarkson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 561-324-6421. Follow @BrettClarkson_ on Twitter.