- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 15, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A 17-year-old accused as an adult of shooting into a Las Vegas police vehicle at a traffic light, wounding a patrol officer in the hand, told investigators he found a gun on the way to buy liquor and decided he just wanted to kill a cop, according to an arrest report.

The teen was arrested by Officer Thomas Clevenger’s patrol partner, Officer Sergio Orizabal, while Clevenger ignored his hand wound, jumped from the passenger seat of the police SUV and pulled a bystander to safety in the Sept. 6 incident, police said.

Police and Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson have characterized the shooting as an ambush on officers who had no idea they were being targeted until bullets hit their patrol SUV.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Diana Sullivan on Monday set bail at $400,000 and scheduled a Sept. 28 preliminary hearing on felony charges that could get the teen decades in prison.

The defendant’s name is being withheld by The Associated Press due to his age.

Assistant Clark County Public Defender Daren Richards said Tuesday the teen plans to plead not guilty to the attempted murder, battery with a weapon and discharging a firearm into a vehicle charges against him.

Police said the teen took a two-handed shooting stance as the patrol car sat at a traffic light at Tropicana Avenue and Nellis Boulevard, and fired at least three shots from about 40 feet away. He then tossed the weapon near a convenience store as he ran.

Orizabal arrested him moments later, a short distance away, without firing a shot, police said. The handgun was recovered.

Investigators noted the teen was matter-of-fact about the incident, and told police the reason he wanted to shoot officers was because “when you’re drunk, you make stupid decisions.”

The teen told police he was so surprised the officers jumped from the patrol vehicle and started chasing him that he just gave up.

Three bullets hit the police SUV. One perforated the passenger side door, striking Clevenger in the right hand. Two other shots hit the door pillar and near the bottom of the rear passenger door.

Clevenger, 46, a 12-year police veteran, is recuperating, Officer Larry Hadfield said Tuesday.

Orizabal, 32, has been a police officer for 10 years.

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