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Henderson police ID officer who shot burglary suspect

Henderson police have released the name of the officer who shot a burglary suspect Monday night.

Officer Eduardo Vega shot Joshua Watkins, 37, once in the leg around 8:50 p.m. near at 1011 Stufflebeam Ave., according to the Henderson Police Department.

Police said Watkins was a “known armed burglary suspect” they were attempting to arrest when Watkins ran toward an occupied police car and another officer saw him “reaching down with his right hand and pulling out his firearm,” according to Watkins’ arrest report.

Watkins was released from the hospital and booked into the Henderson Detention Center, police said. He faces charges of assault on a protected person with a deadly weapon and being a registered ex-felon in possession of a firearm, according to court records.

Vega has been employed by Henderson police since 2016 and is currently on paid administrative leave, police said in a statement Wednesday night.

Vega was accused of kicking a man that officers misidentified as a shoplifter in 2018. Lawyers for James M. Herndon, an assistant manager at Sportsman’s Warehouse, wrote in a federal lawsuit that he was struck with the butt of a rifle and beaten while “attempting to communicate that he was not the suspect” with at least five officers and a sergeant at the outdoor sporting goods retailer.

Vega ran up and kicked Herndon in the head and rammed a knee into his back, the lawsuit alleged.

“The City of Henderson is aware of this incident and is confident that the Henderson Police officers acted appropriately in apprehending an armed criminal suspect who was running through a store occupied by customers and employees,” a spokeswoman for the city wrote in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal days after the lawsuit was filed.

The status of the lawsuit was unclear Wednesday night.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.