Shooting of stabbing suspect ruled justified at inquest


When Brian Shelton told his ex-wife about the plan, she didn’t think he was serious.

Shelton, 45, told her he would call 911 and make a false report about a stabbing, with the knife-wielding suspect running loose in the area.

After police arrived, he’d trick them into thinking he had a weapon, forcing them to shoot and kill him, Christie Turl recalled on the witness stand Friday.

Turl could then sue the Metropolitan Police Department for wrongful death and win a settlement to pay the college costs for their 14-year-old son, she said.

“He said it wasn’t a definite thing, only that he’d thought about it,” she told jurors at the coroner’s inquest.

“I told him, ‘It’s not gonna work, and we need you here.’ ”

Even if it could work, she didn’t want him to do it, she said.

But on May 15, Shelton brought a combat knife to Turl’s home on the 5800 block of Bromley Avenue, near Michael Way and Washington Avenue, and started drinking. He called 911 about 11:15 p.m., setting his plan in motion.

After hearing testimony from Turl and the Las Vegas police officers involved in the fatal incident, the inquest jury unanimously ruled Friday that police were justified in the shooting death of Shelton.

Patrol officers Joseph Parra and Jason Vallad told jurors they were partners on the night of the shooting when they received a report of two stabbing victims near Bromley with the attacker still at large.

When the officers got to the scene, they spotted Shelton, shirtless and sitting on a nearby block wall with a large knife, the officers testified.

Vallad and Parra exited their car as Shelton began to charge, waving the knife, they told jurors.

“He said, ‘You better shoot me, or I’m going to stab you,’ ” Vallad told jurors.

Shelton refused to drop the weapon and came within 5 feet of the officers before Parra fired three shots in succession, two of which struck Shelton’s upper half.

Shelton was taken to University Medical Center, where he died. A toxicology report revealed Shelton had a blood-alcohol content of 0.30 percent and traces of the painkiller Valium in his system.

Officers would later learn no one had been stabbed and Shelton had made the 911 call.

Because Shelton refused to lower his weapon and became aggressive toward officers, Sgt. Rick Barela said Parra made the right decision.

An alternative, such as a Taser, would have been impractical, he said.

“As a supervisor, I would never authorize a low-lethal option in that situation,” Barela told jurors.

Turl told jurors her ex-husband, who had recently been released from prison and was living in a halfway house, was having trouble adjusting to his new life.

He was drinking heavily, she said, and although he made daily calls and frequent visits to Turl and their son, he “was not doing well.”

She saw flashes of the man she married and fell in love with, even on the day of his death, Turl said.

“He is this man (I loved), until the liquor hits,” she said. “Then he was a whole other person.”

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

 

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