An Army veteran charged with murder said he shot at two teenagers firing a gun near his home because he feared for his family, but police determined the teens were moving away from the Henderson man’s house when he opened fire, according to an arrest report.
Edward Croaker, 44, was arrested after he called police early Thursday to report he had shot and hit one of two teenagers who were firing a handgun behind his house.
According to his arrest report, Croaker told police he thought the teens had a high-powered rifle or shotgun, he was in fear for his family and his life, and that he had allegedly been harassed by people affiliated with his “son’s former drug dealers,” which made him fearful when he heard gunfire.
The teen who Croaker shot and killed was identified by the Clark County coroner’s office on Monday as 17-year-old Kory Lino. His death was ruled a homicide caused by a gunshot to the head.
Officers were called shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday to the 1600 block of West Sunset Road, near North Arroyo Grande Boulevard, where they found the two 17-year-olds. One of the teens was unharmed, and Lino was dead at the scene.
Croaker was one of multiple people who called 911, but he told police that he fired his gun from his house, on the 1600 block of Meadow Bluffs Avenue, at “the males in the alley,” the report said.
After Croaker fired, the other teenager threw the handgun into a dumpster and made his way to a Henderson Police Department command post to say he was involved in the shooting, the report said.
The teen told police that after missing a bus, the two were walking to an apartment complex about 2 miles from Croaker’s home. They stopped so one of the teens could urinate near the Quicky Car Wash behind Croaker’s home, and the other took a firearm from his backpack and fired it toward Sunset Road.
The teen told police that “he didn’t shoot at anything specific but aimed toward the road,” the report said.
Detectives later determined the gun had been reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police Department, Henderson police have said.
The surviving teen said “(Lino) stated, ‘If your gonna bust, then I’m gonna bust,’” and he handed the firearm to Lino, who fired once at either the block wall “directly behind Croaker’s residence” or into the car wash’s wall, the report said.
Lino then began shooting “multiple times in an unknown direction,” and Lino “worked the action of the firearm” because they thought the gun was malfunctioning, the report said. The other teen then ran east behind another business.
But when the teenager turned around, he saw Lino fall to the ground and begin to vomit blood.
The teen told police he was “confident” that his gun only had 13 live rounds in it, and when investigators analyzed the weapon they determined two rounds had been fired, the report said.
Startled by loud gunshot
Croaker told police he was in his home when he was startled by a loud gunshot, which he thought was shot at his home because of “how loud it was,” the report said. Croaker grabbed his Glock handgun and opened his bedroom window, which faced the alley behind the car wash.
He told police he thought one of the teenagers in the alley was holding a weapon that “he thought was a shotgun or a high-powered rife,” the report said.
“Edward stated that he is very aware of firearms as he has spent his life in the U.S. Army,” the report said, later adding that Croaker had been medically retired from the military.
Croaker said another round was then fired at his home, which made Croaker “fear for his life” because a bullet would be able to make it through the stucco walls of his home with his family inside, the report said.
“Edward again advised that he felt that his life as well as his families lives were in danger from (redacted) and (redacted) firing at the residences,” a Henderson officer wrote in the report.
Croaker said he heard one of the teen’s “racking” the weapon, so he fired three rounds toward the 17-year-olds, hitting Lino. He then laid on the floor of his home and called 911 while the other teenager was yelling outside.
The 44-year-old also said that because of his son’s “narcotics issue,” people who were “possibly looking for his son” have keyed his car, slashed his tires and attempted to enter his home, the report said. Croaker claimed his son’s former drug dealers “purportedly” had “Cartel links,” which he said made him more fearful on Thursday morning.
Investigators determined there were no signs of bullets hitting Croaker’s home, “indicating that (redacted) may not have been firing at Edward’s residence,” the officer wrote in the report.
Teens ‘walking/running eastbound away’
The officer continued, writing that Croaker was in the “safety of his residence,” and the two teenagers were “walking/running eastbound away from Edward’s residence while Edward fired.”
Lino’s death marked the 12th homicide investigated by Henderson police this year, according to records maintained by the Review-Journal.
On Tuesday, prosecutors formally charged Croaker with murder with a deadly weapon. He remained in the Henderson Detention Center on Tuesday night with a $150,000 bail, jail records show.
Croaker is due to appear in court again on Monday, according to court records. Police have said that “charges are pending” for the surviving teenager, who has not been identified, but it was unclear Tuesday if he had been formally charged.
Contact Katelyn Newberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_nebwerg on Twitter.