Detective says police’s fatal shooting followed string of trauma

Just hours before a man was shot and killed by Boulder City police in March, his wife of six weeks told him she was leaving.

That man, 54-year-old John Allen, died the night of March 29 in a brief shootout with officers Armondo Salazar, 38, and Alan Nutzman, 43, according to testimony from detective Ryan Jaeger of the Las Vegas police Force Investigation Team.

Jaeger answered questions during a public hearing to disclose facts of the shooting, which is routine in Clark County when law enforcement kills someone.

Boulder City police requested Metro’s assistance in investigating, Jaeger said, which also is common for the smaller police departments in the county.

Police still aren’t sure of what made Allen want to shoot at police, but a string of recent traumatic events seemed to cause the RTC bus driver to reach a breaking point.

On Aug. 2, 2013, 53-year-old Leo Miller jumped in front of the bus Allen was driving, and he was killed. The Clark County coroner ruled Miller’s death a suicide.

Two weeks later, Allen’s long-time wife died suddenly and unexpectedly, Jaeger said.

Jump forward to February 2015, Jaeger said, and Allen married a woman he barely knew on Feb. 18. Neighbors reported that he was having financial issues.

Plus he was being evicted from the apartment he’d called home for 12 years, Boulder City Constable Steve Hampe said the day after the shooting.

On March 29, his wife of nearly six weeks told him she wanted to end their brief marriage, Jaeger said.

Just five hours before he was shot during a brief shootout, police were at Allen’s first-floor apartment at 841 Avenue A, where he had lived for more than a decade after moving from San Diego in 2003, Jaeger said.

Neighbors called police about 5:30 p.m. after they heard Allen and his wife arguing loudly in the apartment, Jaeger said.

The couple was fighting over a trip to California, Jaeger said. It became increasingly heated to the point where Allen’s wife said she was leaving him.

Officers arrived and cooled the situation. Allen’s wife left and went to stay with family while Allen stayed in his first-floor apartment, Jaeger said.

Just before 10:30 p.m. on March 29, calls from Allen’s neighbors again flowed into police dispatch. This time, they said Allen was outside his apartment, shooting a pistol into the air.

Salazar and Nutzman arrived separately, and set up a perimeter around the four-plex apartment. Salazar was the first to see Allen, who was standing on the second-floor balcony. Salazar shined his flashlight on Allen and told him to put his hands up.

But Allen ran down the stairs and briefly disappeared into his apartment. He came out, with a black powder .44 caliber pistol and fired a single round toward Salazar, Jaeger said.

Salazar and Nutzman fired back, hitting Allen twice with their rifles. Salazar, a seven-year veteran of Boulder city police, fired four shots. Nutzman, a 10-year veteran, fired two. Allen was flown by helicopter to UMC where he died, police said. No officers were injured.

This was the first officer-involved shooting in Boulder City since 2005, and just the third since 1996.

— Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Find him on Twitter: @ColtonLochhead.

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