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Family of Red Rock shooting victim reacts to BLM statement

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Family of Red Rock shooting victim reacts to BLM statement

By Jacqui Heinrich. CREATED Feb 20, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- We now know which agency opened fire and killed a man near Red Rock Canyon on Valentine's day.

The Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday two of its officers shot and killed 20-year-old D'Andre Berghardt after "fearing for their own safety and the safety of numerous citizens."

The new information is leaving Berghardt's family with more questions than answers.

"You can't make this make sense to me," Tracy Meadows, Berghardt's mother told Action News. Meadows still doesn't understand why her son had to be killed by law enforcement after an apparent altercation with Nevada Highway Patrol and BLM officers, all caught on camera by a civilian witness.

According to a statement released by the BLM on Thursday, two BLM officers shot and killed Berghardt after hitting him with multiple taser deployments, pepper spray and a baton, all in an effort to remove him from the roadway, where cyclists reported seeing a man walking in and out of traffic.

"Numerous ways they could have gotten him cuffed," Meadows said. "I really don't know why they would just abuse him. It wasn't just abuse, it was like they toyed with him before they killed him."

The Review-Journal first obtained cell phone video that captured the minutes before the shooting. It shows Berghardt surrounded by three officers, laying on the ground. Moments later he's on his feet again, apparently unrestrained. According to the BLM, that's when Berghardt tried to get into two civilian cars.

"Don't you think that he might have been trying to get away from you, he was trying to protect himself?" Meadows said, referring to the reports of Berghardt attempting to get into vehicles.

The BLM said Berghardt then threatened to shoot the officers and entered the running NHP cruiser, where he reached for the trooper's duty rifle contained in a firearms safety rack. The BLM officers then shot Berghardt multiple times, "Fearing for their own safety and the safety of numerous citizens."

Authorities still haven't said whether Berghardt was armed.

The BLM has not released the names of the officers who shot Berghardt, but said they are on routine paid administrative leave.

In the meantime, the investigation continues to determine whether the use of force was justified.

Jacqui Heinrich

Jacqui Heinrich

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Jacqui Heinrich is currently a general assignment reporter for Action News.