Law Enforcement

Suspected Child Killer Lunges For Cops Gun During Interrogation

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Terrell Rhodes, 27, of Las Vegas, does not want to go back to prison, and he’s got good reasons for concern, especially after allegedly murdering a toddler. Rhodes made his intentions known during his interrogation when he disarmed a detective in an apparent attempt to escape custody. Fortunately, after a significant struggle, detectives managed to disarm Rhodes before he could shoot anyone. And before detectives had to shoot him.

Fox 5 News Vegas reported the initial incident began while Rhodes was taking care of Amari Nicholson while the boy’s mother, Taylor Nicholson, was away. According to KTNV, Taylor had gone to Colorado to take care of her mother. Reportedly, Rhodes became upset because the boy had peed his pants. Something not at all uncommon for a child of this age.

Rhodes then allegedly beat the child to death and buried his body at the base of a wall near a nearby Siegel Suites and a McDonald’s parking lot. In another broadcast, Fox 5 also told viewers Rhodes had initially told the boy’s mom that an aunt had taken Amari. Initially believing the boy was kidnapped, a $30,000 reward was offered, and volunteers searched for him.

Eventually, Rhodes admitted to detectives to “hitting the toddler after he wet himself.” The Las Vegas Review-Journal said, “Rhodes would later draw officers a map to lead them to the body, buried just a few hundred yards away from the complex where Amari vanished May 5.”

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While alone in an interrogation room, police video shows, as a Fox 5 News reporter describes, Rhodes, “trying to kill three police officers in this small interrogation room. It starts with him handcuffed to a table and trying to slip out of that cuff, and he starts crying as detectives enter the room.”

Rhodes then lunges for a detective’s gun and snatches it out of the holster. Two detectives grab the suspect’s hands and struggle with Rhodes to disarm him. One detective punches Rhodes several times in the head. During the melee, Rhodes screams, “Let me out of here! I can’t go back!” Two other cops enter the room to assist, and they finally disarm Rhodes.

The Review-Journal also reported, “Rhodes was indicted by a grand jury and faces a charge of murder, two counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon and four counts of resisting a police officer with the use of a firearm.” They also said Rhodes is a convicted felon, having recently served prison time for robbery and burglary.

It appears the detectives followed department safety protocols, and, as with anything in police work, no one can anticipate every circumstance.

Rhodes has pleaded not guilty. His next court date is scheduled for June 25.


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Steve Pomper is an author, freelance writer, and retired Seattle police officer. During his career, he served as a field training officer, on the Community Police Team, and as a mountain bike patrol coordinator. He’s written five books, including The Obama Gang and De-Policing America, and he is a contributor to the National Police Association and a freelance writer for The Tatum Report.

Originally from New England, he’s a Boston sports fan. He now lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. He enjoys spending time with his adult kids and three grandchildren.