Man finds himself at center of SWAT standoff: "I feel like my life is turned upside down"

Man finds himself at center of SWAT standoff: "I feel like my life is turned upside down" 12/20/16 (Kelsey Thomas | KSNV)

News 3 is learning more about the frightening moments leading up to an off-duty Metro officer firing his gun during a robbery at a southwest valley animal hospital.

A man who found himself at the center of the search for a dangerous suspect and an animal hospital worker are revealing new details about the confusion and terror that unfolded.

The West Flamingo Animal Hospital is back open for business one day after the incident, but the nerves are still there.

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Police caught up with the robbery suspect Monday night at an apartment complex on Wynn near Twain.

For Richard Berend, a seemingly normal day turned violent.

"I feel like my life is turned upside down at the moment," he explained.

It looks like a tornado ripped through Berend's bedroom. His ceiling is busted out and his carpet is covered with insulation.

It's the aftermath of an hours-long standoff next door to Berend's apartment, Monday night.

"I moved to the chair, kind of peeking, trying to see what I can see through the closed blinds," he said.

Outside, Berend's say he saw police in tactical gear, red and blue lights flashing and a helicopter hovering overhead.

"That's when I took out the camera to take a video and that's when I got low because they're saying we can see you, we can see you, and I thought are they talking to me?" he explained.

It all started a mile and a half away Monday afternoon at the West Flamingo Animal Hospital.

A man walked in and put a gun to the receptionist's head.

"He demands our receptionist for money and she was very brave and she immediately put her hands up and said I don't have any money," said Julie Johnson, West Flamingo Animal Hospital.

An off-duty Metro police officer happened to be sitting in the waiting room with his dog. Police say he intervened and a struggle lasted for 30 to 40 seconds.

According to Metro, the off-duty officer fired two shots and the robbery suspect took off.

"Ultimately we're very happy we had the officer in our lobby yesterday afternoon," said Johnson.

That brings us back to Berend's apartment, where it all ended.

The robbery suspect who was holed up next door to him was finally taken into custody nearly 8 hours after the robbery.

Surveillance cameras inside the animal hospital captured everything. The video will likely be key to the police investigation.

Metro Police will hold a news conference on Thursday to discuss their version of what happened.

Berend is still shaken. "I'm going to see these images in my mind for a long time," he explained.

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