The family of a man shot and killed by Las Vegas police in August 2015 is seeking $13 million in a federal lawsuit that accuses officers of using excessive deadly force.
Abel Correa, 24, was shot five times by two police officers in his mother’s home on Aug. 7, 2015, after police said he lunged at them armed with a pair of hand tools.
Police arrived at Correa’s mother’s home in the 6900 block of Berkshire Place, near the intersection of Rainbow Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue, between 6 and 10 a.m. that morning after a neighbor reported the man was breaking a window to enter the house.
Officers Glenn Taylor and Eli Prunchak arrived about two hours after the neighbor’s call, searched the home and found Correa, a methamphetamine addict with a documented history of mental illness, in a small closet by the front door. The officers shot Correa five times after they said they opened the closet door and Correa lunged at them with a screwdriver and wrench in his hands.
Officers believed Correa was holding a knife and was going to stab them because he was in an attack pose, they said at a fact-finding review, which was held in June after the district attorney’s office preliminarily deemed the police shooting justified.
Metro acknowledged days after the shooting that Correa “was in dire need of mental health services.” At the fact-finding review, Correa’s family argued that Taylor knew about the man’s mental illness and didn’t know how to de-escalate the situation.
In a civil complaint filed Thursday, Correa’s mother and three brothers claimed the officers were not trained properly and used excessive deadly force.
Maria, Ricardo, Gilberto and Moises Correa accused the police department and Sheriff Joe Lombardo of violating Abel Correa’s civil rights through policies, procedures and training.
The lawsuit claims Lombardo had “knowledge that Defendants Taylor and Prunchak lacked sufficient knowledge and training in the Departments of Use of Force Policy” and “should have known officers were not aware of the policy regarding passive resistance.”
According to the lawsuit, Taylor and Prunchak knew Abel Correa suffered from mental health issues, knew he had been placed on mental health hold and knew he had never used violence toward anyone, including police.
“Abel Correa posed no threat of harm to the defendant officers and/or to anyone else at the scene of the shooting, as Abel was hiding in a closet with the door closed and no means of escape,” the lawsuit reads.
One of the officers told Correa to raise his arms and, when he complied, they discharged their weapons at least five times, killing him, the complaint reads.
The lawsuit claims Lombardo, the police department, Prunchak and Taylor are responsible for Correa’s survival action — the injuries and pain Correa suffered immediately before his death, wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The Correas seek $13.2 million in damages for violating Abel Correa’s civil rights, his lost future earnings and his family’s inflicted emotional distress.
Contact Kimber Laux at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0283. Find @lauxkimber on Twitter.