Union head: Vegas officer killing should bring death penalty

LAS VEGAS (AP) — With police officers filling the courtroom gallery, a man accused of killing a veteran patrol officer stood silently before a judge Tuesday in a case that the top prosecutor in Las Vegas has said might bring the death penalty.

Tyson Shawn Jordan Hampton stood shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles, with a bandage on his left forearm. He faces 27 felony charges including murder, attempted murder, assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and discharging a firearm. The 24-year-old’s court-appointed attorneys declined to seek his release from jail on bail and the judge set another court date Nov. 1.

Deputy public defenders Conor Slife and Anna Clark declined after the hearing to comment.

In the court hallway, Steve Grammas, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, stood surrounded by about 30 police officers and union members and called for capital punishment.

“This should be a death penalty case,” Grammas told reporters. “That is the expression from myself and I believe all of our police officers. We’re all upset that we have to be here to deal with a case because we lost one of our brothers.”

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said separately that a decision about seeking the death penalty will be made in the coming weeks. The last execution of a convicted criminal in Nevada was in 2006.

Hampton, of Las Vegas, also faces a misdemeanor domestic violence charge stemming from allegations he battered his wife before Las Vegas police officers Truong Thai and Ryan Gillihan arrived a little after 1 a.m. on Oct. 13 to answer a 911 call about a street side domestic argument several blocks east of the Las Vegas Strip.

Police body camera video released Monday showed Hampton seated in a blue sedan, refusing to comply with Thai and beginning to drive away before opening fire with a handgun from the driver’s window of his vehicle.

Assistant Clark County Sheriff Andrew Walsh described the weapon as a high-powered “AK-47 pistol” firing military-grade 7.62-caliber ammunition, and said Thai was shot through the side of his ballistic vest. He died at a nearby hospital.

Hampton’s mother-in-law was wounded in the leg, but police said her injury was not life-threatening.

Police said Hampton fired 18 shots, Thai fired five shots and Gillihan fired seven times as Hampton drove away.

Hampton was arrested a short time later a few blocks away and received what police said were minor injuries when a police dog jumped on him to bring him to the ground outside his car.

Walsh said Hampton had the alleged murder weapon in his possession when the K-9 reached him, and police also found a .40-caliber handgun that was not used in the shooting.

The AK-47 is a standard assault rifle developed in the former Soviet Union. It is sometimes referred to as a Kalashnikov.

A funeral with full line-of-duty honors is scheduled Oct. 28 for Thai. In 23 years as a Las Vegas police officer, he served as a patrol and training officer, financial crimes investigator and firearms instructor. The 49-year-old father of a 19-year-old woman also was an avid volleyball player and coach.

Gillihan, 32, a police officer since 2017, is on paid leave pending district attorney and departmental reviews of the shooting.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.