BLM offers first account since fatal Red Rock shooting

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This image taken from cell phone video of the officer-involved shooting show officers trying to take someone into custody. (Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal) This image taken from cell phone video of the officer-involved shooting show officers trying to take someone into custody. (Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal)
D'Andre Berghardt Jr. (Source: LVMPD) D'Andre Berghardt Jr. (Source: LVMPD)

The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday released its first account since a fatal officer-involved shooting near Red Rock last week.

D'Andre Berghardt Jr., 20, was shot and killed during an encounter with a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper and two Bureau of Land Management rangers on State Route 159 on Feb. 14.

In a written statement to the media, BLM rangers said they were originally called to the scene after motorists and cyclists reported a man behaving strangely, walking in and out of traffic.

The rangers were joined by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper at the scene, where they ordered Berghardt to get out of the roadway, according to BLM officials. They said Berghardt began resisting the officers, and tried to get into two vehicles belonging to motorists who were stopped on the highway because of the commotion. They said the rangers and trooper used several stun guns, pepper spray and a baton in an effort to stop Berghardt.

BLM officials said Berghardt then threatened to shoot the officers, and jumped into the trooper's cruiser and reached for the rifle inside. They said the rangers, in fear for their lives and the surrounding motorists, shot and killed Berghardt.

"They are looking out for the protection of the public and the safety and the protection of the resources," said Hillarie Patton, BLM spokesperson.

Patton also said BLM rangers go through extensive training before stepping foot on public lands.

"Before they do anything on the ground, they go through 17 to 18 weeks of training at our Federal Law Enforcement Center in Georgia," Patton said.

After this, they go through an additional 12 weeks of training, plus another 40 hours of training every year to refresh their skills.

"They would go through scenario trainings, they would go through defense training, they'll do the firearms training," Patton said. "When you go back to the training they're doing at the federal center, they're doing everything from communication training, interviewing skills, self-defense training, tactical training." 

According to Thursday's statement, both rangers have nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience and training between them.

Patton says the BLM wants the public to understand that rangers are trained just like any other law enforcement agency.

"Our rangers are highly trained. They are intensively trained and they go through physical, mental agility training yearly."

The trooper at the scene was identified Wednesday as Trooper Lucas Schwarzrock. NHP officials said Schwarzrock did not fire his gun during the ordeal. He has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Las Vegas Metro Police said they are investigating the use-of-force aspect of the shooting, but did not provide a timeframe for the investigation. They also called for the public's help Wednesday to piece together the events surrounding the shooting. Specifically, they are trying to determine how Berghardt got to highway 159.

Anyone with information about Berghardt or the shooting was asked to call Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

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