The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the July 29, 2014, death of Jessie Vigil, and determined that the actions of Henderson Police Department (Henderson) officers were legally justified.
In a report released today, it was determined that on July 29, 2014, Jessie Vigil was pulled over by a patrol officer after he was seen going through a red light on a bike, against traffic, at the intersection of Horizon Drive and Boulder Highway. The officer explained to Mr. Vigil why he was stopped, and asked him to get off his bike and go to the front of the second patrol car that had arrived at the scene. Initially, Mr. Vigil told the officer ‘no’, indicating that he had to go to work. After repeated commands from the officer, he eventually he got off of his bike, but knelt down beside it, instead of going to the patrol car, as instructed. The officer continued to issue commands to go to the front of the patrol car, and Mr. Vigil continued to ignore him. The officer then physically walked Mr. Vigil to the front of the patrol vehicle. During the walk to the patrol car, Mr. Vigil struggled and attempted to break free from the officer’s grip. Once they were at the vehicle, the officer conducted a records check and found that Mr. Vigil had been arrested numerous times for violent crimes and carrying a concealed weapon. Based on this information, and Mr. Vigil’s odd behavior, one of the officers conducted a pat down. During the pat down, he found a black foldable knife clipped to the back of Mr. Vigil’s pants. The officer removed the knife and told Mr. Vigil to put his hands behind his back. As the officer unsnapped the case holding his handcuffs, Mr. Vigil quickly turned and violently pulled his hands from the officer’s grasp. The officer was able to grab Mr. Vigil’s jacket and bring him to the ground, at which time both officers attempted to restrain him. During this struggle, Mr. Vigil retrieved a second knife he had on his bike and stabbed one of the officers in the hip. Both officers then disengaged from the struggle. Mr. Vigil moved toward the injured officer, and the second officer involved in the struggle drew his weapon and fired two shots. Mr. Vigil turned toward the officer who fired at him, and that officer fired two more shots, killing Mr. Vigil.
Further investigation at the scene revealed that Mr. Vigil had multiple weapons and six baggies of methamphetamine concealed on his bike. An autopsy report confirmed that Mr. Vigil was actively under the influence of very high levels of methamphetamine at the time of his death.
"This is an all-too-familiar case of a person, under the influence of drugs, acting illegally and threatening the lives of officers, and innocent bystanders," said District Attorney Steve Wolfson. "These incidents do not define our community, but they forever impact those involved."
A Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review was held on August 25, 2015. 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.