The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the March 10, 2014, death of David Robinson and determined that the actions of the North Las Vegas (NLV) officer cannot be deemed criminal.
According to the report released today, on March 10, 2014, a NLV officer encountered Mr. Robinson late at night near an abandoned home at the intersection of Woodard and Tonopah. Before backup officers arrived, the officer approached Mr. Robinson and asked him to provide identification, at which time Mr. Robinson pulled his wallet from his pocket but then dropped it. The officer explained that Mr. Robinson was pacing, pumping his arms up and down, swearing and not complying with orders he was given. According to the officer, Mr. Robinson referred to arrest warrants he had and repeatedly stated, "I don’t wanna go to jail." When Mr. Robinson brought his hand toward his waistline again, according to the officer, he saw the blade of a knife. Because of the officer’s close proximity to Mr. Robinson, and fearing Mr. Robinson was reaching for the knife, the officer fired his weapon, striking Mr. Robinson in the head. Mr. Robinson died at the scene.
Backup officers arrived within seconds of the shooting and observed the officer standing with his weapon drawn and Mr. Robinson lying on the ground, not moving and bleeding from the head. An eight inch straight knife was found in the rear pocket of Mr. Robinson’s jeans.
The toxicology report done at autopsy showed that Mr. Robinson had amphetamine, methamphetamine and ethanol in his system.
Because there were no witnesses to the actual shooting and a lack of forensic evidence, the Office of the District Attorney asked experts at Force Science Institute to review this case and analyze the officer’s explanation. In the report, Force Science noted that research establishes that shots to the head are normally those of a novice shooter, and that the overall performance of the officer was no greater than, or perhaps below, average. Additionally, Force Science noted that it could not challenge or validate whether the officer saw a knife, "however, everything after that is consistent with an officer recoiling in response to a perception of the threat and shooting rapidly to save his life."
"We appreciate the outside evaluation offered by Force Science Institute" said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. "Making sure that we provide a thorough and accurate analysis in every officer involved shooting is our priority."
A Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review on this case was held on June 8, 2015. The determination that the officer 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.