Two men observing a police stop Friday watched in growing disbelief and then horror as the seemingly routine incident turned deadly when a federal ranger shot a man inside a state trooper’s patrol car.
One of the men recorded video with his cellphone as a Bureau of Land Management ranger shot and killed D’Andre Berghardt Jr., 20, near the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.
Berghardt, from Los Angeles, had been hailing cyclists as he walked along state Route 159 near Calico Basin, about 20 miles from downtown Las Vegas. Two cyclists reported the man to officials at the Red Rock visitor center at about noon.
The video, shot from a car stopped on the highway, shows two rangers holding Berghardt at gunpoint for several minutes as onlookers watch from cars and bicycles. Berghardt doesn’t appear to threaten the rangers, but remains on his feet, apparently disobeying their orders. He didn’t appear to carry a weapon.
Several minutes into the confrontation, one ranger sprays Berghardt with pepper spray. Berghardt stumbles and grabs his face, but the rangers don’t arrest him.
Berghardt pulls off his overshirt, turns his back to the rangers and walks toward a row of cars as they follow. As Berghardt nears an onlooker’s truck, one of the rangers kicks Berghardt and tries to detain him. But Berghardt throws a punch at the ranger, fighting him off.
A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper arrives as Berghardt dashes behind a truck and out of the camera’s view. The three officers chase him as the video cuts away. The man doing the taping briefly turned off the camera because he believed the incident was over.
The video returns with both rangers on top of Berghardt in the roadway, the trooper off to the side. But Berghardt somehow escapes from the rangers’ grasp, pushes away the trooper, and bolts for the trooper’s patrol car.
“Why don’t they just cuff him and be done with it?” one of the men in the video asks. “They keep letting him get up and run away.”
The trooper points either his firearm or a taser at Berghardt, but then backs away as Berghardt briefly stomps toward him. Berghardt hurries to the driver’s side of the trooper’s SUV and climbs inside as the trooper slams the door on him.
The camera jerks to the left as the rangers, who had apparently deferred to the trooper, reach the driver’s side of the car. As the camera stabilizes, a ranger wearing dark pants fires eight or nine shots from his handgun into the trooper’s car.
One witness said "there's no better backdrop than Red Rock Canyon to be filled full of lead" before adding "The shooting takes place at the 5:45 mark in the video".