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Security officer sued in death of shoplifting suspect in Henderson

The family of a shoplifting suspect who was fatally stabbed in January outside a Henderson department store filed a wrongful death lawsuit this week against the security officer accused of killing him.

On Jan. 31, Ian Cullison was fatally stabbed by a security officer outside a Dillard’s at Henderson’s Galleria at Sunset mall, 1320 W. Sunset Road. The security officer, identified in the lawsuit as Sanford Davis, has not been charged in connection with Cullison’s death, court records show.

The Henderson Police Department previously has said the security officer stabbed Cullison after Cullison brandished a knife. However, the civil complaint does not indicate that Cullison had a knife, and alleges that Davis attacked the 34-year-old “without provocation or cause.”

Attempts to reach the Cullison family and Davis were unsuccessful, and the attorney for Cullison’s family did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the complaint, a Dillard’s employee saw Cullison concealing several pairs of pants inside a duffel bag and leave the store. The employee then told Davis, who was the on-site security guard employed by Allied Universal Security Services.

Davis ran after Cullison, who was “not reported to be acting in an aggressive or threatening manner,” the lawsuit states. Once he caught up to Cullison, Davis pulled a knife and took several steps toward Cullison, who backed away.

The security officer stabbed Cullison in the chest while grabbing the duffel bag from his hand. Davis began walking back toward Dillard’s without calling for help, according to the complaint.

“After taking a few stuttering steps, Ian fell to the ground, bleeding profusely,” the lawsuit states.

Davis walked back to Cullison and used his radio to call for help, but he did not attempt to stop the bleeding or “take any other life-saving measures,” according to the document. Instead, the complaint states, Davis began digging through the duffel bag and removing some items.

First responders arrived at the scene more than five minutes after Cullison was stabbed, the lawsuit states. Cullison was taken to Henderson Hospital, where he died.

The Clark County coroner’s office ruled his death a homicide due to a stab wound of the chest.

The lawsuit, which names Davis, Allied Universal Security Services, Dillard’s and the mall as defendants, indicates that Cullison’s family is seeking at least $30,000 in damages. It was filed Wednesday in District Court.

Allied released the following statement Friday: “We send our deepest condolences to the victim’s family and loved ones. Allied Universal takes all lawsuits seriously, but we are unable to comment on pending litigation.”

Dillard’s and the mall did not respond to a request for comment.

The suit also claims that the security company, Dillard’s and the mall do not have “sufficient and clear policies” regarding the use of force to apprehend suspected shoplifters.

“Given Davis’s propensity to use violence and excessive force, Universal, Dillard’s and (the mall) knew or should have known that severe injury or death would occur,” the complaint alleges.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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