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Police ID 2 Utahns held after Nevada shootout

By KEN RITTER

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 23 2013 11:26 p.m. MDT

LAS VEGAS — A man wounded in a shootout that also left a veteran police officer injured in the Nevada resort city of Mesquite was identified Friday as an ex-convict with a criminal history stretching from Nebraska to Utah.

Daniel Wesley Runyon, 40, of Richfield, Utah, remained hospitalized at University Medical Center in Las Vegas pending an initial court appearance on charges including assault with a weapon on a police officer, methamphetamine trafficking, conspiracy and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

A woman who police said was with Runyon when he stepped from a maroon Geo Metro and fired at least one shot Thursday morning was identified as Tina Cornell, 48, of St. George, Utah.

Cornell wasn't injured but was arrested pending a court appearance on charges of methamphetamine trafficking, conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia.

It wasn't clear Friday why Runyon allegedly began shooting. But Officer Jeffrey Smith, Mesquite police spokesman, said investigators found methamphetamine in the vehicle, along with a revolver holding at least one spent bullet casing.

Records show that Runyon, with his name also spelled Runyan and using several other names, served prison time on drug, forgery, bad check and burglary charges in Nebraska and a federal prison in North Dakota in the 1990s, and had two stints in the 2000s in Utah prisons.

Officer Craig Empey, 43, was recuperating Friday from a leg wound after becoming the first Mesquite police officer ever wounded on duty. Empey was a police officer for eight years with the Nye County Sheriff's Office and other agencies before joining the Mesquite department in Clark County in 2006, officials said.

Empey and a Mesquite police detective, Gary Erickson, both shot Runyon and both were placed on paid leave pending a departmental review. Erickson, 44, is a 13-year Mesquite police veteran.

Empey was in a marked patrol car and Erickson was in an unmarked police vehicle when they stopped Runyon and Cornell on a main boulevard near Interstate 15, police said.

Las Vegas police detectives were handling the shooting investigation, and prosecutors from the Clark County district attorney's office went to the scene.

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