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Police: Casino robber killed by officer got away in November

March 18, 2019

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A twice-convicted bank robber who was shot and killed after wounding a police officer outside a busy Las Vegas Strip resort got away with cash and poker chips during a similar heist at the same hotel less than four months ago, a police official said Monday.

Displaying side-by-side photos, Clark County Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank told reporters that Michael Charles Cohen wore glasses, a bandage on his face, a hooded sweat shirt and a black knit cap during armed robberies late Friday and Nov. 28 of a poker room cashier at the Bellagio resort.

Hank showed multiple video clips from hotel valet surveillance and officer body-worn cameras of Cohen’s attempted getaway on Friday, and branded Cohen “a brazen criminal who showed no regard for his victims and was willing to use deadly force on a police officer in order to make his escape.”

Only two shots were fired, Hank said.

Cohen, 49, of Las Vegas, was shot once by Officer Joaquin Escobar after video shows Cohen ran from the Bellagio, tried to carjack a motorist who locked the door of her car, and then fired once with a .380-caliber handgun as four bicycle patrol officers wearing yellow shirts moved toward him.

One police officer, struck in the chest of his bulletproof vest, fell backward into two colleagues and escaped serious injury, Hank said. He was treated at a hospital and released. His name was not made public.

“We’re fortunate that our officer’s vest stopped that round,” Hank said. “This could have been very tragic for both our officers as well as citizens ... or even that lady in her car.”

Cohen died of a single gunshot to the head, the Clark County coroner said.

Hank said Cohen was previously convicted of bank robberies in Nevada in 1999 and 2008.

In the November robbery, police say a carjacking victim managed to free himself from the trunk of his gray sedan but Cohen still used it to make his getaway. The car was later found abandoned.

Escobar, 29, a police officer for nearly two years, was placed on paid administrative leave pending departmental and district attorney reviews of the fatal shooting.

Hank said it was the fourth shooting involving Las Vegas police this year and the first resulting in a death.