Suspect in Reno police officer slaying arrested after standoff
RENO, Nev. (AP) – A man accused of shooting a Reno police officer to death surrendered in a cloud of tear gas and smoke after a 4 1/2-hour standoff Wednesday in a quiet residential neighborhood.
”We got him. We got the killer out of there,” Deputy Reno Police Chief Jim Weston said after 20 SWAT officers stormed the man’s cottage just before 1 p.m.
No shots were fired, but tear gas and smoke grenades sparked a small house fire that Reno firefighters extinguished.
The suspected gunman, identified as Larry Peck of Reno, barricaded himself in a house and shot and killed a police officer with a high-powered rifle before holding heavily armed officers at bay. Authorities initially had identified him as Larry Tack.
Peck was arrested by Sparks police and Washoe County Sheriff’s investigators, who will conduct an investigation.
”There was a lot of screaming and yelling and coaxing to get him out,” the deputy chief said.
Reno Police Officer John Bohach was fatally wounded as police began to surround Peck, holed up in a tan one-story bungalow behind another home. Weston said Peck’s mother-in-law, who lives in the front house, cooperated with police.
Bohach was shot in the chest as he arrived in a tree-shaded, decades-old neighborhood about two miles southeast of the downtown casino district. The standoff took place across the street from the steepled First Church of God.
The officer was pronounced dead at Washoe Medical Center. Bohach, 35, is a veteran of 13 years on the police force with a wife and two daughters, Weston said.
”He was a credit to the Reno Police Department,” said Scott Freeman, a Reno defense lawyer.
”He was always very passionate about his work. He was a very hardworking police officer. That was what he was all about,” Freeman said.
The deputy chief said Bohach was not wearing a bulletproof vest, but that it wouldn’t have mattered because the shots fired from the rifle could penetrate vests or cars.
Police began chasing Peck – who police said was about 50 years old and had a history of nonviolent drug arrests – after an officer stopped him for erratic driving on the city’s north side. Bohach was not involved in the original traffic stop.
Police said the stopped motorist sped away and another Reno police cruiser was involved in a four-vehicle crash about 8 a.m. near the house.
The Nevada Highway Patrol was investigating the crash. Trooper Troy Lindley said at least one person was hurt, but details were not immediately available.
An exchange of gunfire occurred about 8:30 a.m. outside Peck’s bungalow.
A neighbor, Fred Wood, 35, said he was in his front yard across the street when he saw two police officers and heard a man yell that he didn’t want anyone to get hurt.
Wood said the officers shouted back, ”We don’t want anybody to get hurt either.”
He said he heard two gunshots, and about eight to 10 minutes later, a third gunshot.
”Then it was like Beirut out there,” he said, ”massive gunfire.”
Weston said many shots were fired, but Bohach didn’t have time to return fire.
Other police officers fired shots trying to distract the gunman so they could reach their fallen comrade.
Houses in a several-block area were evacuated while a police helicopter circled overhead, two armored police vehicles closed in and SWAT teams from Reno, Sparks, Washoe County and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms arrived.
Authorities evacuated one nearby school and locked children inside another.
Police swarmed into the neighborhood as children were arriving for school, said Ed Heywood, principal of Bailey Charter Elementary School.
Heywood said 212 students spent part of the morning locked in the school before being evacuated to Libby Middle School.
Children at Veterans Memorial Elementary school were locked inside. Parents were told not to go to the campus and were advised to call the Washoe School District.
Freeman said Bohach had a good sense of humor. He worked as a detective and helped with child sexual assault cases.
”You have to have a real people approach when you deal with child assault cases. He will be missed.”