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Las Vegas After-Action Assessment

Lessons Learned from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Ambush Incident
Zoe ThorkildsenAshley ShultzThomas WoodmanseeDrew Tracy
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The Las Vegas, Nevada, community and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) experienced a tragic loss on June 8, 2014, when two officers were ambushed and killed by two assailants. The assailants went on to instigate an active shooter situation, killing a Good Samaritan civilian who attempted to intervene. LVMPD officers and supervisors responded to the active shooter threat, which evolved into a barricaded subject scenario. Ultimately, both assailants died: one by an officer-involved shooting and the other from a self-inflicted gunshot.

This report, sponsored by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) summarizes key findings developed during an after-action analysis of the ambush and subsequent police engagement with the assailants. CNA analyzed the event precursors, incident response, and aftermath to document lessons learned. These findings and lessons learned can be used by the larger law enforcement community to conduct self-evaluation and better prepare for critical incidents such as ambushes and active shooter situations.

This after-action report builds on other analysis of violence against law enforcement, including the 2015 COPS Office publication Ambushes of Police: Environment, Incident Dynamics, and the Aftermath of Surprise Attacks Against Law Enforcement. Between the time of the ambush incident in Las Vegas and the publication of this report, other high-profile ambushes of officers have occurred in such cities as Philadelphia; Blooming Grove Township, Pennsylvania; and New York City. As described in the 2015 COPS Office publication, there are numerous gaps in our understanding about ambushes of law enforcement officers. This report is intended to help provide lessons learned about responding to violence targeting law enforcement occurring in agencies across the country and help officers remain reasonably vigilant in the face of these constant threats. This report also serves as an essential foundation for future studies and best practices in understanding ambush incident preparation and response.

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  • Pages: 52
  • Document Number:
  • Publication Date: 5/4/2016