Naked man shot by officers surprises students taking test in nearby church

Local high school students were taking the pre-SAT at Life Springs Christian Church near Warm Springs and Eastern when a naked man with a gun appeared outside before he was shot by an LVMPD officer. (Chris Merhi)

A local high school student, who was taking a pre-SAT test, says he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

Chris Merhi was with nine other students at 11 a.m. Saturday at Life Springs Christian Church when a naked man, armed with a handgun and who was wanted by police, appeared outside a glass door near his desk.

Police say the man was distraught and threatening suicide, and resisted arrest before being shot in the arm by a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer.

LVMPD has identified the officer involved as 42-year-old Officer Mark Hatten, employed with the LVMPD since January 2007. Hatten is assigned to the Community Policing Division, South Central Area Command, and has has been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a review of the incident.

Shortly after the man appeared, the church property was swarming with police, and an officer ordered everyone away from windows where they could be seen.

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“The guard had told us, don’t go out there. There’s a man outside. He’s naked with a gun,” said Merhi, who was in a room with nine other students.

As he got up to leave, he snapped a picture of the man, sitting naked, with a handgun to his right.

Merhi says the ordeal lasted about 20 minutes, and while startling, he never feared for his safety.

“When I saw the man, personally, of course, I was freaked out,” Merhi told News 3.

In addition to the handgun, Merhi said it appeared the man also had large stacks of cash with him.

Because the incident resulted in an officer-involved shooting, LVMPD will hold a briefing on what happened within 72 hours, which is expected to include a release of body camera video.