EDMONDS — An off-duty Edmonds police officer was killed Saturday in a stabbing in Las Vegas.
Tyler Steffins, 33, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan, had graduated from the police academy in 2019, finishing first in his class.
Just after 9:30 p.m. Saturday, a man stabbed Steffins on a pedestrian bridge at Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, according to Las Vegas police.
Police believe Steffins and the suspect, identified as Freddy Allen, were arguing the night before over how Steffins pet a dog. On Saturday, they reportedly got in another fight.
As they argued, Allen stabbed Steffins once. Steffins said, “I think he just stabbed me,” before collapsing, according to an arrest report obtained by KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.
The suspect fled, according to a news release from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
When police arrived, they found Allen, 58, holding a knife. The suspect reportedly threw the hunting knife with a 6-inch blade into a fountain in front of the New York-New York Hotel & Casino, according to KLAS-TV. He tried to run from officers but they caught him.
Allen was booked into jail for investigation of murder with a deadly weapon. He had been arrested twice in the past year in Las Vegas in connection with violence involving a knife, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Steffins was taken to a local hospital, where he died.
Steffins is survived by his wife and two elementary school-age children, as well as his father, stepmother, brothers and a sister.
Las Vegas police are handling the investigation, Edmonds police Acting Assistant Chief Josh McClure said. Allen refused to appear at an initial court appearance Monday, according to KLAS-TV.
McClure said Steffins “was down enjoying Vegas like anybody else” when he was killed.
“He is incredibly missed in our building already, just in the last 12 hours or so, and I can only imagine what his family is going through as well,” McClure said.
Edmonds Police Chief Michelle Bennett told reporters the department received news of Steffins’ death late Sunday night.
McClure, who helped hire Steffins in 2018, said he was a patrol officer, working both day and night shifts. McClure described Steffins as a “terrific young man who served our community well,” and that he was very loved in Edmonds.
As a Marine, Steffins served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to Edmonds police.
McClure told reporters he carried his “pride of service” into the Edmonds community. In multiple recruiting photos, Steffins was pictured shaking hands and engaging with the public, he said.
McClure described Steffins as “a very chill individual … who spoke with an even, steady tone.”
“He didn’t say much, but when he did, it was usually funny,” McClure said. “He was also a consummate professional serving citizens since 2018.”
Steffins was killed the day after Everett police officer Dan Rocha, 41, was shot and killed while checking on “suspicious” circumstances on Friday in a parking lot near Everett Community College. And the state’s law enforcement community had already been in mourning after the slaying of a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy, Dominique “Dom” Calata, whose funeral was held that day.
McClure told reporters staff were exhausted after assisting Everett police over the weekend.
“As an organization today we’re really tired,” he said. “Some of the people in this building right now are working on two to three hours of sleep with no time to go home any time soon.”
McClure said police in Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and Mukilteo stepped in to cover calls in Edmonds on Sunday night when the news came in about Steffins’ death.
He said the department formally notified its 70 employees on Monday of their colleague’s death. A professional counselor was helping support staff, he said. Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers said the county would “offer any support Edmonds needs in this time of mourning.”
In a statement, the police chief called Steffins’ death “a tragic loss.”
“Tyler was a valued member of our police family whose infectious smile and contagious laugh endeared him to his peers,” Bennett said. “We will miss him terribly but cherish the times we had with him. We remain committed to providing quality service to our community even during the most trying of times.”
At the Monday afternoon news conference, Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson said: “I can’t even think of anything more horrible than talking about the murder of a city employee, a police officer, a dad.”
Edmonds resident Bev Eckmann attended the news conference to pay tribute to Steffins. She said she met the officer when he helped with a parking issue at her home.
“He was very kind to us,” she said.
Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.
Jacqueline Allison: 425-339-3434; email@example.com. Twitter: @jacq_allison.
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