The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the actions of members of the Las Vegas Criminal Apprehension Team (CAT) involved in the Feb. 19, 2013 death of Javier Reyes were reasonable and legally justified.
“After a foot pursuit through the backyards of a residential neighborhood, Mr. Reyes repeatedly ignored commands from law enforcement to ‘stop’ and ‘show me your hands’. Instead, he chose to shoot at a Special Agent of the FBI, striking him twice and narrowly missing his head once.” District Attorney Steve Wolfson said. “Fortunately, the special agent was not fatally wounded and no citizens, or other law enforcement agents, were harmed during this incident.”
According to the report released today, CAT officers were conducting surveillance on a residence where they believed Mr. Reyes was located. Officers had been briefed about Mr. Reyes’ criminal history, the active warrants for his arrest and recent contact with law enforcement on Feb. 7 where he had scaled a second floor balcony, entered an apartment and held the elderly occupants hostage, while holding a pistol in each hand. In that incident, Reyes took the keys to the hostages’ car and fled the area. He escaped at that time, and was a felon known to be in possession of firearms. On Feb. 19, Reyes was then reported to be at residence on Pleasant Brooks Street. As officers and special agents arrived, Reyes left the house, went over a wall and started running from officers. When one of the special agents was within 15 yards of Reyes, he gave the commands ‘let me see your hands’ and ‘get on the ground’. Reyes then fired three times at the special agent, striking him once in the chest. As the special agent turned to find cover, Reyes shot at him again, striking him in the back. Once the special agent had found cover, he noticed that Reyes was now on the roof of a home. Convinced that other CAT officers and residents in the neighborhood were in imminent danger, the wounded special agent shot at Reyes three times, striking him all three times. Reyes fell down on the roof. A Task Force Officer handcuffed Reyes on the roof, medical assistance was requested for him and he was transported to the hospital, where he later died from the gunshot wounds.
A Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review was not conducted in this incident. Clark County Code mandates such a review when a police-involved death occurs, and the prosecutor preliminarily determines that no criminal prosecution of the office is appropriate. The definition of “officer” is limited, by Nevada Revised Statutes, to state and local law enforcement personnel. In this case, the special agent was acting in his capacity as a federal law enforcement officer.
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.