By Kelsey Givens
MESQUITE — A former Nye County Sheriff’s deputy who now works for the Mesquite Police Department was reportedly injured after a suspect opened fire on officers during a traffic stop Thursday morning.
Officer Craig Empey was transported to Mesa View Regional Hospital in Mesquite after he was reportedly shot in the leg during a traffic stop with a 1996 Geo Metro bearing Utah license plates in the area of Sandhill Boulevard near Interstate 15 around 7:50 a.m.
Officers had reportedly stopped the vehicle as part of an investigation into an earlier incident in the city about 80 miles east of Las Vegas. Police had not released any details about the earlier incident by press time.
Police officials say the man in the Geo Metro began shooting at officers, which is when he injured Officer Empey.
Officers at the scene returned fire on the suspect, reportedly striking him twice in the exchange.
Both Empey and the suspect were subsequently transported from the scene to be treated for gunshot wounds. The suspect was flown by helicopter to University Medical Center in Las Vegas and his condition was unknown as of press time.
Empey was reportedly in good condition at Mesa View Regional Hospital as of Thursday afternoon.
A 48-year-old female traveling in the suspect vehicle was reportedly uninjured in the fray, but was detained by police at the city’s jail for questioning. She was reportedly cooperative with Mesquite officers and has not been charged with any crimes.
Empey was a deputy with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office twice during his law enforcement career. He was first employed with the agency from 1998 to 2001 and then again from 2002 to 2006.
Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall, who said he knows the officer well, called Empey a great police officer. Marshall said he and the rest of the sheriff’s office wish Empey a speedy recovery.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has reportedly been called in to conduct an investigation into the shooting incident.