Rifle-wielding man had encounter with officer before fatal shooting

Jesus Nevarez (LVMPD)

Less than an hour after a Las Vegas police officer encountered an erratic man Saturday night, he went on to kill a man in an apparent random shooting, the Metropolitan Police Department alleges.

Jesus Nevarez, who is being held without bail in the Clark County Detention Center, is facing one count of murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, Las Vegas Justice Court records show.

An officer spotted a stopped car with flashing hazard lights about 9:30 p.m. near Wyoming Avenue and Lamb Boulevard and pulled over to offer help.

“Jesus appeared to be speaking erratically to himself,” said the arrest report, adding that the officer left without taking action because there was no probable cause to detain the 32-year-old man.

Officers were summoned at 10:23 p.m. to an east Las Vegas shopping center in the 4500 block of East Charleston Boulevard, where a rifle-wielding man was walking around the parking lot, pointing the long gun at “different people,” police said.

Four gunshots rang out while 911 operators were taking the calls, police said.

Jose Hernandez Cruz, 45, was sitting in the car when he was hit twice, later dying at University Medical Center, said police and the Clark County coroner’s office.

Lt. Ray Spencer said Monday that detectives believe the shooting was random.

About 30 minutes later, 911 received another report of a man pointing a rifle at people in a shopping center about 3 miles away from the slaying scene, police said.

Nevarez was “looking in” bushes before he drove off, police said.

Officers tried pulling him over in the area, but he led them in a chase through Interstate 15, stopping near the Lake Mead Boulevard exit, police said.

He was arrested with the help of a police dog, which bit him in the leg, police said. Officers found a rifle in the car.

Nevarez’s bite was treated at UMC before he was jailed.

Police redacted the arrest report section where they summarized their interview with Nevarez.

A possible motive was not disclosed.

Nevarez was denied bail during a Monday court hearing, records show.

He also was being held on bench warrant connected to an unrelated DUI case.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.