5/31/2016 - DA’s Office Releases Report on James Todora death

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the actions of a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer (LVMPD) on July 10, 2015, were reasonable and legally justified. The report released today describes the events leading up to Mr. Todora’s death.

On July 10, 2015, a LVMPD officer conducted a traffic stop on the 5600 block of West Sahara Avenue. The driver of the vehicle, Todora, immediately stepped out of the car and began yelling at the officer. The officer initially ordered Todora to get back in his vehicle, but realized it would be better for him to remain out of the vehicle so he gave follow-up commands to that effect. Mr. Todora ignored the officers’ instructions and got back into his car.

The officer positioned himself at the opened driver side door of Todora’s vehicle. The officer explained to him that he had been pulled over because of a broken tail light. Mr. Todora became more agitated and made references to an incident that had happened days earlier where the police were called to a domestic dispute between him and his wife. The officer asked if Todora had any guns in his vehicle and he admitted he had a rifle in the back of the truck. The officer again attempted to get Todora to exit the vehicle, but he refused. At this point, additional officers arrived at the scene.

The initial officer reached into the vehicle in an attempt to physically remove Mr. Todora, at which time Todora stated "What if I just shoot myself?" while he lifted a blanket on the front seat, revealing a handgun. The officer was unable to stop Todora from grabbing the gun. The officer saw Todora point the gun at him and then he heard a click, at which time he retreated from the vehicle. Almost immediately, one shot was fired by Todora. That shot hit off the interior of Todora’s car, went through his back driver’s side window, hit the windshield of a

patrol vehicle and hit an officer who had just arrived on the scene and was exiting his car. A third officer who had arrived and witnessed the struggle between Todora and the first officer went around to the passenger side of Todora’s car. After Todora fired at the officers, the third officer fired at Mr. Todora three times.

The officer who was shot by Todora was taken to UMC with a graze wound to his neck. Mr. Todora died at the scene.

Follow-up interviews after the incident revealed that days before his death, Todora was involved in several incidents in which he became very agitated and belligerent, including police contact on two different occasions where he was placed in handcuffs while officers tried to calm him down and get answers to questions they were asking. As a result of these incidents, his estranged wife filed for a protective order against Todora, and convinced him to finalized divorce documents they had been discussing for several months. Subsequent incidents involving Mr. Todora behaving erratically led up to the morning of his death. Further investigation after his death turned up a handwritten note in his car that clearly shows anger toward officers he had previously come into contact with.

The toxicology results of the autopsy on Todora showed THC and Oxycodone-Free in his system. The active ingredient for THC is marijuana, and it has depressant and reality distorting effects. Oxycodone-Free is a semi-synthetic narcotic used to control pain.

A Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review was conducted in this incident on May, 20, 2016. Clark County Code mandates such a review when a police-involved death occurs, and the prosecutor preliminarily determines that no criminal prosecution of the officer is appropriate

The determination that the officers acted lawfully in this situation is based upon the evidence available at this time. The case could be reexamined if new information comes to light.

Last modified on 5/31/2016 11:53