LAS VEGAS — An armed ex-felon shot dead by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper last week opened fire first while fleeing a traffic stop, and one of the bullets hit the patrol officer’s badge, a department commander said Thursday.
The trooper, Shawn Peckham, was wearing a ballistic vest and wasn’t seriously hurt, although his badge was badly mangled in the 19-second gunfight early Aug. 26 in southeast Las Vegas, Nevada Department of Public Safety Col. Dennis Osborn said.
Peckham fired 11 shots, killing Matthew Gibbon, 24. Osborn said Gibbon was hit in the forehead and left hand.
Osborn played for reporters excerpts of dashboard camera video from Peckham’s patrol car showing Gibbon running from a white Cadillac with two other people inside. A gun is seen in Gibbon’s right hand, and a backpack in his left hand.
Outside of the view of the dashboard camera, audio recorded the sounds of two shots — then separate bursts of six shots and five shots that Osborn told reporters were from the trooper.
Gibbon ran almost 25 yards after the first shots were fired before collapsing about 50 yards from Peckham — near the metal gate of an insurance office parking lot across busy Boulder Highway from the Boulder Station hotel-casino.
Police later recovered a 9mm handgun at the scene and found an unspecified amount of methamphetamine in the backpack, Osborn said.
Gibbon was an ex-felon with a criminal history in New Jersey, Florida and Nevada involving drugs, theft, burglary, stolen property, eluding police and driving under the influence, Osborn said, and was prohibited from having a gun.
The video showed two people seated in the car with their hands raised while Peckham was heard radioing that shots had been fired.
The female driver and her 23-year old son, a passenger, were not charged and their identities were not made public.
They told police they were giving Gibbon a ride in return for a promise of a small amount of methamphetamine, and did not know he had a gun, Osborn said. They said Gibbon had asked them not to stop.
Osborn said Peckham pulled the vehicle over because it did not have a proper license plate registration sticker, but the car turned out to be correctly registered.
Peckham is on paid leave pending the results of investigations of the shooting.
It was the second fatal shooting this year involving a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper.
On Aug. 19, Kyle Zimbleman, 29, of Reno was shot and killed behind the wheel of a U-Haul van after a chase on Interstate 80 involving troopers and Washoe County sheriff’s deputies.
That case is being investigated by Reno and Sparks police.