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Man injured in police shootout possibly linked to Ogden bank robbery


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WEST WENDOVER, Nev. — The casino-border town of West Wendover became a "ghost town" Friday as a bomb squad worked to dismantle a possible homemade explosive device.

The device was found in the back seat of a car driven by a man who police say just hours earlier fired a shot inside one of the town's clubs before leading police on a chase that ended in a shootout with two officers.

Based on the shell casings collected at the scene, both the officers and the gunman exchanged more than two dozen shots. Amazingly, Elko County Sheriff's Lt. Kevin McKinney said no police officers or civilians were injured.

"We're very fortunate," he said.

By Friday afternoon, a bomb squad team from the Elko County Sheriff's Office had rendered the device safe and the casino entrances were reopened.

The man suspected of causing the chaos was identified as Anthony Christopher Martinez, 30, of Ogden. Police believe he robbed a bank in Ogden just hours before the shootout in Wendover.

Martinez was shot multiple times in the chest by police and flown by medical helicopter to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. Ogden police reported Friday afternoon that he was in critical condition.

About 12:20 p.m. Thursday, police say Martinez walked into Mountain America Credit Union, 321 E. 2nd St., and demanded money. He claimed to have a gun but did not display one, Ogden police said.

By 8:45 p.m., Martinez had made his way to West Wendover and walked into Southern Exposure, 1890 W. Plateau Way, according to police. The doorman stopped him and asked for identification, according to McKinney.

"He pulled a gun, hit the doorman over the head with the handgun, then fired a round into the bar and then left," he said.

The shot shattered a mirror behind the bar and lodged into a wall, McKinney said. The doorman suffered minor injuries from being pistol-whipped, but no other patrons inside the club were hurt.

Two Wendover police officers — the only officers on duty that night — arrived on the scene quickly and were soon involved in a car chase with Martinez. The brief chase ended when he crashed into a guardrail on West Wendover Boulevard and Camper Drive.

McKinney said Martinez got out of his car and began shooting at the two officers, who returned fire. All of the casinos in town were placed on lockdown, and off-duty officers were called as backup.

When the shooting stopped, Martinez got into his car and refused to come out, Wendover police said in a prepared statement. About 40 minutes later, the man exited his vehicle and was taken into custody.

Police investigating the shooting believe the two officers fired at least 14 rounds at Martinez, and he returned at least 14 shots of his own, McKinney said. He was believed to be armed with a 9 mm Glock.

After Martinez was removed from the scene, investigators found additional weapons in his car.

"We found some other firearms, a couple of long guns and a shotgun. And we also found what appears to be an IED," McKinney said.

The rifles were found in the trunk of the car. The "crudely made" explosive device that included an aerosol can, bullets and wick, was spotted in a vanity case in the back seat, he said.

A "large sum of money" was also found in the vehicle, as well as the blue-soled shoes the man who robbed the Ogden bank was believed to be wearing, McKinney said.

After news of the shootout spread, Martinez's family members contacted police saying they believed he was responsible for both the bank robbery and the incident in West Wendover.

McKinney said police were still trying to retrace Martinez's steps and figure out why he was in Wendover. They were looking through surveillance video from the casinos Friday but believed the Southern Exposure club was the only place he entered.

Criminal history

According to Utah court records, Martinez was convicted in Utah in 2013 of being a restricted person in possession of a dangerous weapon in exchange for a charge of fleeing from police being dismissed. He was sentenced in February 2014 to up to five years at the Utah State Prison.

That sentence was ordered to run concurrently with sentences he was ordered to serve in other cases, according to court records. In 2011, Martinez was convicted of felony drug possession and sentenced to five years at the Utah State Prison, court records state.

In 2004, he was convicted of being a restricted person in possession of a dangerous weapon and sentenced to a year in jail, according to court records.

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Pat Reavy

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