Hearing set for officer Mendiola on weapons charge

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Janiece Marshall set a May 24 preliminary hearing Thursday for police officer Thomas Mendiola on a felony weapons charge.

Mendiola, one of the Las Vegas officers who shot and killed Erik Scott outside the Summerlin Costco last year, was not present in court. Marshall waived his appearance.

His lawyer, Ulrich Smith, wouldn't comment afterward.

The district attorney's office filed a criminal complaint against Mendiola last month, charging him with unlawfully giving a handgun to a two-time felon.

Mendiola, 23, an employee of the Metropolitan Police Department since March 2009, has been relieved of his patrol duties at the Convention Center Area Command pending the outcome of the case. He is free on his own recognizance.

The weapons charge draws a maximum 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

In September, a coroner's inquest found that Mendiola and two other officers were justified in Scott's July 10 shooting, but Scott's family later sued the officers and the department in federal court.

Mendiola gave a .22-caliber Ruger handgun to Robert Justice, who has two theft convictions in Arizona, sometime between July 15 and Aug. 19, according to a criminal complaint.

Justice, 45, has been charged and is cooperating with police in an unrelated case involving an alleged scheme to kill Las Vegas attorney Nancy Quon.

Justice's co-defendant in that case is Quon's live-in boyfriend, former Las Vegas police officer William Ronald Webb, who is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $400,000 bail.

Police said they learned about the relationship between Justice and Mendiola during an undercover investigation that targeted Justice in the summer.

Justice ended up selling the Ruger handgun and a Dan Wesson .357-caliber revolver to an undercover detective on Sept. 14 for $500, police said. Neither firearm was registered with authorities in Clark County.

Justice told detectives that Mendiola gave him the .22-caliber handgun as a gift after Justice performed some mechanical work on the officer's car .

Contact reporter Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135.