Man Killed by Cops Was Holding Phone, Not Gun
He had recently been convicted of multiple crimes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 2, 2016 2:20 PM CST
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A man who was fatally shot by Las Vegas police while holding a cellphone that was mistaken for a gun had recently been convicted of multiple crimes in Arizona, his attorney said Saturday. Brad Reinhart last had contact with his client, Keith Childress Jr., 23, last month when a jury was set to issue a verdict in his trial for stealing marijuana and guns from a Phoenix home in 2013. Reinhart said he texted Childress to be at the courthouse, but he never showed up. "He didn't show up for the final hearing. They had a warrant out for him," Reinhart said. Las Vegas police said they were assisting US marshals in arresting Childress because he was accused of multiple violent felonies in Arizona including attempted murder. Reinhart said Childress was never charged with attempted murder.

The shooting occurred Thursday after Childress had been under surveillance and fled from federal authorities, Las Vegas police said in a statement. Childress was found outside a home west of downtown. Police said his right hand held what they believed to be a firearm. Officers told him to drop the gun and ordered him to stop when he began to move toward them. Police said two officers opened fire when Childress didn't obey their commands. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police later said Childress was actually holding a cellphone. His death was ruled a homicide. Police Capt. Matt McCarthy said officers opened fire in part because Childress was wanted for attempted murder. Arizona records don't support that claim.