12/6/99 6:08 PM Inches: 8.2 REGULAR AM-NV-Police-BarRobbery 12-06 0344
Melee erupts during attempted robbery at bar filled with off-duty officers
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Four gunmen made the wrong choice when they tried to rob a bar filled with off-duty police officers. A shootout erupted that left one bandit dead and six bar patrons wounded.
One of the wounded was an off-duty Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officer, who was shot four times as he and one of the gunmen exchanged fire.
The rock band ”Pigs in a Blanket” – comprised mostly of police officers – had just finished playing when the four men burst into Mr. D’s bar early Sunday morning in a robbery attempt.
Police say Emilio Rodriguez, 19, a resident of Las Vegas, was fatally wounded when the off-duty officer exchanged gunfire with Rodriguez and three other robbers.
Five bystanders and the officer were struck by bullets during the incident. All five bystanders have been treated and released from the hospital. The officer, described as a 20-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police Department, was shot four times and was reported in good condition at University Medical Center Monday.
According to witnesses, about 70 people were in the bar when two men rushed through the back door and two others came through the front.
All four were reportedly carrying weapons and dressed in dark clothes, with bandanas or T-shirts covering their faces, and they ordered patrons to the floor.
Police said gunfire erupted with three of the bandits and at least one officer firing their weapons.
Rodriguez was shot several times and fled through the front door before collapsing on the sidewalk in front of the bar. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other three bandits fled from the scene, police said.
The officer’s identity is being withheld for 48 hours in accordance with department policy. Authorities say the officer had wounds to the abdomen, the groin, the leg and the hand. None were life threatening.
A coroner’s inquiry is scheduled to see if the shooting was justified.