A Planecrash, Armed Carjacking, 1 Death, 44 Arrests: Police Reports from Burning Man 2018


Burning Man, the annual soul-searching, art-displaying event where 70,000 people descend upon a desert to create a city out of nothing, might not have ended with enlightenment for all involved.

From the police reports at this year’s event, there was an armed carjacking, at least one death, 44 arrests, and a minor plane crash.

Burning Man 2018 Art
One of the art installations from Burning Man 2018. Photo Credit: Design Indaba

The armed carjacking reportedly happened on September 4, 2018, when a woman just outside of the Burning Man exit stopped her car to help a man on the side of the road. The man then used a knife to threaten her and stole her car.

Police were able to track down the car, and after a brief struggle, arrested 32-year-old Tiago Gomez of West Hollywood for the incident.

Also on September 4th, Burning Man contractor Sherman Nicholson was found “unresponsive and not breathing” in a truck, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.

Nicholson received CPR from medical personnel but ultimately “died at the scene unexpectedly,” also according to the statement. The cause of death is under investigation.

The Federal Aviation Association and the National Transportation Safety Board are also investigating a small Cessna plane crash that occurred during takeoff on Saturday, Sep. 1st. The pilot and his three passengers were not hurt. The flight was scheduled to be a sightseeing flight over Burning Man.

Similarly to previous years, police made several arrests during Burning Man this year, most of which were related to drug possession and drug trafficking. However, there were also other charges including driving while under the influence, domestic battery, and obstruction of a public officer.