In a report released today involving the death of Francisco Suarez-Maldonado on June 1, 2017, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the actions of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers were legally justified and reasonable.
On that date, officers responded to a neighborhood to investigate a report of gunshots being fired outside of a home. Officers learned that Mr. Suarez-Maldonado had been in a fight with his girlfriend, which resulted in him ultimately pointing a loaded rifle at her and threatening to shoot her. As he left their house, the victim tried to stop him; she believed he was suicidal. He pushed her to the ground and left the house, firing multiple shots into the air before getting in his truck and driving away.
As officers were interviewing the victim, Mr. Suarez-Maldonado drove back to the home and remained in his truck in the middle of the street. Officers gave multiple commands for him to exit the vehicle. Mr. Suarez-Maldonado told officers, "This is the end of the line for me." He also stated, "Tell my mother I love her." Officers repeatedly attempted to de-escalate the situation by requesting that Mr. Suarez-Maldonado exit the vehicle peacefully. Instead, Mr. Suarez-Maldonado shot at officers from inside his truck. Officers returned fire and Mr. Suarez-Maldonado was killed.
The autopsy report revealed that Mr. Suarez-Maldonado had a blood alcohol level of .142—nearly double the legal limit.
"After battering his girlfriend, pointing his rifle at multiple people and threatening to shoot them, firing his handgun into the air and leaving the scene, Mr. Suarez-Maldonado returned to the scene and shot at officers." said District Attorney Steve Wolfson. "Officers implored Mr. Suarez-Maldonado to surrender peacefully, letting him know they didn’t want to hurt him. Unfortunately, he chose to fire at the officers. They returned fire to protect the innocent neighbors in the area and themselves."
A Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review was conducted in this incident on November 27, 2017. Clark County Code mandates such a review when a police-involved death occurs, and the prosecutor preliminarily determines that no criminal prosecution of the officers 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.
The full report is available on the District Attorney’s Web page.