Sparks police cleared in fatal shooting

SPARKS — Two Sparks police officers were justified when they fatally shot a woman who pointed a gun at them at her home near an elementary school, Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick said in a report released Thursday.

Sgt. Mike Keating and Officer Ryan Simpson said Monica Ritchey, 45, had already fired the gun and was pointing it at her own head when they responded to her daughter’s report Oct. 13 that Ritchey was suicidal.

Gammick said his review determined the officers were justified and feared for the safety of each other when they shot Ritchey multiple times after she pointed the gun at them at the home near Dunn Elementary.

Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen also disclosed for the first time Thursday that Ritchey’s daughter, Darcie Latham, was shot in the leg by a third police officer, Chad Mowbray — not by her mother, as police had originally reported.

Allen said in a statement that he and other members of his staff had visited Latham within 48 hours after she was hospitalized to inform her “she was shot by an officer of the Sparks Police Department, not her mother.”

Gammick’s report concluded the officers were justified in using deadly force and that Mowbray’s wounding of Latham also was “justifiable under all applicable laws.”

Allen said in the statement the shooting was “tragic” and that he empathizes with the victims’ family, adding that a shooting is “never the officer’s desired outcome, particularly when responding to these types of calls.”

“The responding officers’ intent was to provide assistance to Mrs. Latham’s request for help and to protect the community as a whole,” he said. He said they were required to make split-second decisions based on changing circumstances.