In a report released today involving the death of Terrance White, Jr. on June 14, 2018, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the actions of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) officers involved were legally justified.
On June 14, 2018, a LVMPD patrol officer observed what appeared to be a vehicle being sought by officers from LVMPD’s Northeast Area Command (NEAC). The vehicle was reported stolen and had been used in several armed robberies in the NEAC and the Southeast Area Command (SEAC) in the previous week. All reports indicated the suspect was an unknown black male adult armed with a rifle. The officer approached the vehicle, which was parked adjacent to a park, and observed Mr. White asleep in the front driver’s seat, and an AR-15 style rifle in the front passenger’s seat. The patrol officer when back to his vehicle and called for additional officers to respond to the area.
When additional officers arrived, the decision was made to put tire deflation devices in front of the tires of the suspect vehicle to prevent Mr. White from fleeing when he woke up. While officers were waiting for the K-9 unit to arrive, Mr. White woke up and started his vehicle. At that time, officers used the public address (P/A) system to give verbal commands to Mr. White to exit his vehicle with his hands up. He refused to comply with those commands and was warned that if he drove toward the officers he would be shot.
Mr. White continued to ignore the commands and put his vehicle in reverse and struck a speed limit sign. He stopped, and more commands were issued by officers, instructing him to exit the vehicle. Ignoring the additional commands, Mr. White drove directly toward the nine LVMPD vehicles and all the assembled officers who were outside of their vehicles in tactical positions on the street. As he neared the officers, several of them fired their weapons at the vehicle, in an effort to stop Mr. White from running over any officers or crashing into their vehicles. Ultimately, Mr. White crashed his vehicle into one of the patrol cars and came to a stop. Officers gave more
commands to Mr. White to exit the vehicle, with no response. The officers then removed Mr. White from his vehicle and alerted medical personnel. Mr. White was pronounced dead at the scene. The toxicology report from the autopsy revealed that Mr. White had THC in his system.
“Mr. White was a suspect in several armed robberies and was armed with an AR-15 style rifle at the time he encountered police,” said Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson. “His decision to drive into a group of officers, endangering all of their lives, required officers to use deadly force to stop him. This incident happened near O’Callaghan Middle School where innocent bystanders were present at the adjacent park, and they too were in danger of being harmed by Mr. White’s actions.”
A Police Fatality Fact-Finding Review was conducted in this incident on May 15, 2019. Clark County Code mandates such a review when a police-involved death occurs, and the prosecutor preliminarily determines that no criminal prosecution of the officer 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