Las Vegas officer indicted on weapons charge


A Las Vegas police officer involved in a fatal shooting outside the Summerlin Costco last year has been indicted on a felony weapons charge in a separate incident.

The indictment returned Friday charges officer Thomas Mendiola with disposal of a firearm to a prohibited person. He is accused of 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 .

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 what police say was a plot to kill Las Vegas attorney Nancy Quon.

In September, a coroner's inquest found that Mendiola and two other officers were justified in shooting Eric Scott outside the Costco store, but Scott's family has sued the officers and the department in federal court.

If convicted of the weapons charges, Mendiola could face one to 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.

An arraignment is set for May 26. Mendiola remained free on his own recognizance.

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 Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.

 

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