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Alleged carjacker threads oncoming traffic at 100 mph ahead of shootout with police

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Las Vegas Metropolitan Police

On August 11, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department dispatched investigators to conduct covert surveillance of 40-year-old Justin Venegas, suspected of having perpetrated a violent carjacking on May 20. Around 7 p.m., officers saw Venegas drive away from his home, at which point, they alerted an Air Patrol unit to maintain surveillance on his vehicle.

According to Clark County Assistant Sheriff Andrew Walsh, at the corner of North Pecos Road and Cheyenne Avenue, Venegas exited his vehicle at a red light and then hijacked a white Chevrolet Avalanche pickup at gunpoint. It was at that moment the mayhem that ultimately involved two officer-involved-shootings, a head-on collision and a 41-mile chase began in earnest.

Police first tried to pull Venegas over, but he refused to stop. When officers then attempted a PIT maneuver, Venegas allegedly fired at them with a 9mm handgun.

Walsh said that Officer Brendan Burbrink fired back at the suspect through their windshield, which can be seen catching at least one bullet from the suspect a moment earlier.

Driving over 100 mph, the suspect was seen weaving through dense traffic and even driving on the wrong side of the road.

Venegas allegedly led police to a parking lot near West Desert Inn Road and South Decatur Boulevard, where he attempted to hijack another vehicle.

Media Briefing: OIS #7 2022 YouTube

The woman driving the vehicle did not, however, comply. She backed away from Venegas, who then fired upon her twice.

Walsh noted that the woman, although injured in the foiled carjacking — either grazed by a bullet or injured by broken glass — is alright.

Venegas was precluded from trying again, as Officers Burbrink, Mojarro, Montero, Montalto, and Sayas reportedly opened fire on the suspect. While the stolen Chevrolet Avalanche was struck multiple times in the shootout, Venegas managed to escape uninjured, but only momentarily.

Walsh claimed that Venegas then intentionally rammed a police K-9 vehicle at 67 mph. (This collision occurs at 14:05 in the footage provided by the LVMPD.)

Boris, the K-9, was reportedly uninjured in the crash, and the unnamed driver of the K-9 vehicle was released from the University Medical Center hospital after being treated for minor injuries.

After the collision, which ended the chase, Venegas was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and then remanded to police custody on August 12.

Venegas has been charged with attempted murder, six counts of attempted robbery, robbery, battery, and discharging a gun into an occupied vehicle. The Las Vegas Sun reported that he also faces charges related to the May 20 incident, where he allegedly carjacked a 73-year-old woman, including assault with a deadly weapon with a victim over 60 and grand larceny. He will appear in Las Vegas Justice Court on August 23.

Walsh suggested that "the community was very lucky in this incident," granted that no bystanders were struck by stray bullets. He also lauded police for their bravery. They "suit up every day and this is what they deal with."

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