Gunman killed in Reno may have had mental issues

Associated Press

Reno, Nevada — A gunman who was killed by a SWAT team after he took a woman hostage and opened fire on a downtown Reno street from the eighth-floor of a condominium may have been suffering from mental issues, police said.

Ken Gallop, a police officer in neighboring Sparks, said Wednesday his department is leading the investigation into Tuesday night’s officer-involved shooting.

A preliminary investigation indicates the shooter was acting alone, he said in a statement. He said the female hostage escaped injury and no one else was seriously hurt.

“This case is actively being investigated, and no additional information will be released at this time,” Gallop said. The name of the gunman has not been released.

Reno Deputy Police Chief Tom Robinson told reporters that officers on the scene indicated the suspect who appeared to be in his mid- to late-20s may have been seeing things.

It’s not clear if he or the hostage lived in the Montage apartment building a block off the main casino drag.

Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel-casino, had owned a unit at the Montage. Records show he sold the property in December 2016.

Robinson said police don’t know if the shooting may have been a copycat.

The building was once a casino itself before it was converted into luxury condos.

Trooper Chris Kelley of the Nevada Highway Patrol told the Reno Gazette-Journal that shots were heard from the building for at least 20 minutes, and TV news reporters said they heard several shots after arriving, though the shots were sporadic, not constant.

Karl Fiebiger, a seventh-floor resident of The Montage, quickly evacuated his condominium after police told him they had secured the seventh, ninth and ground floor of the tower. Police told him the shooter was on the eighth floor and they worried stray bullets could penetrate windows and floors.

“Honestly I knew the shooter was close, I could feel the windows vibrate, I could hear things falling from walls,” Fiebiger told the Gazette-Journal. “So I was pretty glad to evacuate because I knew I wasn’t in the safest situation if bullets started flying.”

Police said one of the phone calls they received about the shooting was from the woman inside the room with the suspect. Police negotiators eventually were able to make contact with him while he continued to fire shots out the window.

“He was holding her against her will and wouldn’t let her leave, so we were able to get in there and get her to safety,” Robinson said.

The suspect was alive when he was taken into custody but later died at a Reno hospital.

Police shut down several streets and evacuated the surrounding area when the gunman opened fire shortly before 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“When you heard it’s coming from above it reminds you of the guy shooting from Mandalay Bay,” said Mike Pavicich, who was in town on business from Las Vegas and was standing atop a parking garage at the neighboring Eldorado Resort Casino when the shots rang out.

“It’s scary, you know?” Pavicich told the Review-Journal. “This is the same kind of town.”