Officer Jeremy Robertson is the third Metro Police officer injured by gunfire in the last few months. Friday, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo spoke publicly about the dangers his officers face.
Several alarming factors emerged from Friday’s shooting, including the heavy weaponry police say the suspects had: an AK-47 assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun.
The shooting comes one day after the sheriff warned officers to be cautious for their own safety.
“My officers are on pins and needles as we go through this,” he said.
Lombardo says his officers are watching out for each other after Robertson was shot while responding to a call about a prowler with a gun.
Neighbors are also on edge.
“This is scary. I don’t know what’s going on. This is a very peaceful place,” said neighbor Estelita Jenkins. “I’m upset that the policemen get shot again. I mean this is not good.”
Sheriff Lombardo says officers are used to dealing with violent crime on a daily basis.
In this shooting, police say both suspects – Clemon Hudson and Stephen Turner – appeared to know they were shooting at police and didn’t stop.
“My concern is the attitude of some individuals that have a personal vendetta towards police – either the rhetoric or their own beliefs,” Lombardo said.
Police say a bullet from the AK-47 hit Officer Robertson.
“It’s designed to commit damage, and it’s a concern for anybody that lives in this community,” Sheriff Lombardo said.
Violence against police appears to be escalating. Earlier this summer, police body cam video showed a man firing shots and grazing an officer in his neck following a traffic stop.
In an unrelated incident in July, a man shot an officer with a pellet gun while authorities investigated a robbery.
In both situations, police shot and killed the suspects.
Sheriff Lombardo says no officer-involved shooting is easy, but it’s especially stressful when one of his own officers is hurt.
“I have a lot of angst when I get those phone calls early in the morning, because you don’t know the injury of our officers or the circumstances in which they were put in,” he said.
The sheriff referred to this period as increasingly difficult and dangerous.
There have been seven officer-involved shootings in the past seven weeks, however, shootings involving Metro officers are down from this time last year.