Man attempted to cut off arm before Las Vegas officers shot, killed him

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas police said during a briefing Thursday that the man they shot and killed during a confrontation earlier in the week was suicidal and attempted to cut off his arm before they arrived.

On Feb. 22, at around 12:45 a.m., officers with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department received a call from the Clark County Fire Department asking for assistance near the intersection of Eastern and Sahara avenues.

According to Assistant Sheriff Yasenia Yatomi, the call for assistance was in reference to a suicidal person.

CCFD officials told police that a man in the 2500 block of South Eastern Avenue appeared to be attempting to cut off his arm with what was later identified as a “long, sharp piece of metal.”

  • Warning the following photos may be disturbing. (KLAS)
    Warning the following photos may be disturbing. (KLAS)
  • Photo of the weapon used in the incident provided by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
    Photo of the weapon used in the incident provided by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

When Officer Joshua Romanski, 37, arrived, he found the man, later identified as Jose Luis Saenz, 41, still armed with the metal piece, though Romanski initially believed Saenz was armed with a sword, Assistant Sheriff Yatomi said during the briefing Thursday.

Officer Romanski exited his patrol car and ordered Saenz, who approached the officer with the metal piece, to stop walking toward him, police said.

Image of Jose Luis Saenz provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Image of Jose Luis Saenz provided by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department

Saenz did not listen to Officer Romanski and assisting officers arrived on the scene and began making a plan to de-escalate the situation, Assistant Sheriff Yatomi said

Officers continued telling Saenz to stop walking toward them and drop his weapon. When he did not listen, police fired one low-lethal round, hitting Saenz in the lower leg and causing him to fall.

Saenz then stood back up and advanced towards officers, who yelled at him to stop and drop his weapon. When he did not Officer Romanski and Officer Paul Guerrero, 26, both fired their weapons towards him.

Together, Officers Romanski and Guerro fired five times.

Immediately after the shooting, officers attempted to provide medical aid to Saenz. Medical personnel took him to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Officers Romanski and Guerrero have both been employed with Metro since 2022 and are assigned to the East Community Policing Division, South Central Command. They are on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a review of the shooting.

Police said if Saenz had survived, he would have been charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a protected person and one count of resisting arrest with a deadly weapon not a firearm.

According to Assistant Sheriff Yatomi, this is the second officer-involved shooting for Metro in 2024. Both officer-involved shootings in 2024 have been fatal. At this time in 2023, there had been no officer-involved shootings.

Resources for those who may be struggling with their mental health can be found here.

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