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Cousin looks for answers in homeless man’s shooting

The first cousin of the man shot Wednesday inside an Albertsons grocery store by a Henderson SWAT team is livid she can’t get any information on her cousin’s condition at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.

“He’s like this nameless, faceless person, and they can’t seem to find any records on him,” said Tanya Montana, 38, in a telephone interview from her residence in Arvada, Colo. “The whole story doesn’t make any sense to me. He’s the sweetest guy. He’s never had any mental issues. He’s got a wife and three kids, or at least he did the last time I talked to him.”

That was about a year ago, Montana said.

Her cousin, Jake E. Goldsborough, a 36-year-old Las Vegas resident, has since lost his factory job, his home, his wife and his three children, and has been living in the desert outside Henderson.

Two months ago, his unemployment checks stopped coming in the mail, said Kathleen Trujillo, a friend who now believes the standoff between police and Goldsborough might have been “suicide by cop.”

On Wednesday night, Henderson police shot Goldsborough after he exited a store bathroom, reportedly aiming a pellet gun at officers, according to police reports.

A baby doll was later found inside the bathroom. Trujillo said that the doll may have belonged to one of Goldsborough’s daughters and that he had been carrying it around with him.

Police identified the officers on Friday as Sgt. Todd Wellman, with the department since 1990, officer Ritch Melchert, with the department since 1997, and officer Wavie Reed, with the department since 2000.

Melchert was involved in a shooting two years ago. During a standoff, he shot and wounded Eric Jason Thatcher. Thatcher, a state fire marshal investigator, took his own life.

Reed, while off duty in 2011, struck and killed a pedestrian. In 2003, he shot and wounded a burglary suspect.

Since the shooting, Goldsborough has undergone surgeries for his injuries, said Keith Paul, spokesman for the Henderson police. But how many times Goldsborough was shot and the extent of his injuries have not been released by police.

He was booked by proxy inside his hospital room on three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and he was reported to be in critical condition by hospital officials Thursday.

But other than that, hospital officials cannot release any information, even to family members, said Amanda Powell, associate vice president of marketing.

“I can’t even confirm whether or not he’s here,” she said. “It’s because of privacy. If the patient is listed as confidential, we can’t give out any information.”

While confidentiality is usually the result of stringent health care privacy laws that fall under the Health Insurance Portable and Accountability Act, HIPAA, Powell said that in Goldsborough’s case, it’s because of the situation.

“It relates to the situation,” she said, meaning the shooting. “I can’t say anything because it’s confidential.”

Reporter Richard Lake contributed to this story.

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