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Nye Sheriff Wehrly provides update on fatal shooting at Nevada Security Site

An Iowa man was fatally shot by a security guard and a Nye County deputy on Monday after driving through the Nevada National Security Site’s main gate, but there’s no body-worn camera footage of the shooting because of federal regulations, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.

Nekiylo Dawayne Graves, 27, drove up to the main security gate at the test site in Mercury, about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, at about 5:20 p.m. Monday but didn’t stop, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said in a video released Wednesday evening.

When Graves drove past the gate, security officers called for help from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office substation at the test site, which “provides law enforcement services on-site,” Wehrly said.

Deputy John Kakavulias caught up with the security officers chasing Graves, who stopped the car about 8 miles from the gate along Mercury Highway. Graves got out of the car and approached a security officer and Kakavulias, Wehrly said.

According to a release Monday from the National Nuclear Security Administration, Graves had a “cylindrical object in hand” when he was shot. No object or weapon was mentioned in the sheriff’s office’s Wednesday release.

Sheriff’s office spokesman David Boruchowitz said in an email Wednesday evening that information about whether Graves had a weapon is “not being released right now.”

After Graves got out of the car, he didn’t comply with the officers’ commands and “continued to advance on the officers,” Wehrly said.

A security officer and Kakavulias then shot Graves, she said. It was unclear how many times Kakavulias fired his weapon and how many times Graves was hit.

Kakavulias, 43, has been employed by the sheriff’s office for 16 years, Wehrly said.

Graves died at the scene, Wehrly said. No one else was injured.

Kakavulias was not wearing a body-worn camera because sheriff’s office deputies are not authorized to wear them on the test site.

“Due to the federal prohibitions related to the recording of the Nevada security site, Nye County staff assigned at Mercury substation are not approved to wear body-worn cameras,” Wehrly said.

It was unclear Wednesday if there was any security camera footage of the shooting.

The FBI was notified of the shooting, and officials went to the scene on Monday, Wehrly said. The FBI is conducting an investigation “into Graves’ actions,” Wehrly said. Boruchowitz said the FBI is conducting an investigation because the shooting happened on the test site.

The 1,360-square-mile testing facility is the primary home of the nation’s underground nuclear testing program. The National Nuclear Security Administration, a Department of Energy agency, oversees the site.

The state Investigation Division is conducting a routine, independent investigation of the shooting, while the sheriff’s office is conducting a routine internal affairs investigation, Boruchowitz said.

Kakavulias has been placed on routine paid administrative leave, Wehrly said.

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