DA Releases Report On Use of Force in Death of Thomas Domagala
The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the federal law enforcement officer involved in the death of Thomas Domagala acted lawfully, and criminal charges against the officer will not be forthcoming in this case.
On Sept. 19, 2012 the Nevada Fugitive Investigative Task Force (FIST) was conducting surveillance on a home occupied by Domagala. He had outstanding felony warrants for several crimes in Arizona, including a near fatal pistol-whipping of an elderly man. When Domagala exited the residence with two female companions, and left in a vehicle, federal officers attempted to stop the vehicle and a chase ensued. Domagala’s car became disabled and he fled on foot, carrying a loaded gun. Several officers pursued him, instructing him to stop and drop his weapon. A Deputy U.S. Marshal, who was approaching the scene from a different vantage-point, encountered Domagala as he was running toward the officer. After he did not obey that officer's commands and instead continued running toward that officer with a gun in his hand, the Marshal fired one shot at Domagala. Domagala was pronounced dead at the scene. The autopsy showed he had methamphetamine and amphetamine in his blood.
“Mr. Domagala chose to flee officers and ignored commands to stop running and drop his weapon. He was running, with a gun in his hand, directly at a U.S. Marshal. His actions left the officer no choice but to defend himself, his fellow officers and the citizens in the area,” District Attorney Steven Wolfson said.
A Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review will not be conducted in this case because federal law enforcement officers (in this case a Deputy U.S. Marshal) are outside the jurisdiction of this process. According to Nevada Revised Statute (NRS) Chapter 289, an officer is defined as state and local law enforcement personnel.
“We have been releasing use of force reports since shortly after I took office last year. They are an important tool to inform the public of the circumstances surrounding the death of a person at the hands of a law enforcement officer. Sometimes these reports are the only way the public learns the facts of a particular case. This is especially true in situations like this where a Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review will not be conducted,” said Wolfson.
The determination that the officer acted lawfully 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.