A Las Vegas police officer who shot a woman holding a shovel in an east Las Vegas trailer park in May left the department just two months later.
Ondre Wills separated from the Metropolitan Police Department on July 18, police spokesman Larry Hadfield said last week. Metro didn’t release the circumstances of his separation, but Las Vegas Police Protective Association President Steve Grammas said Wills resigned before a Metro administrative hearing on his job.
Grammas said the department cited training and officer safety issues when it notified Wills it was proceeding with Metro’s nonconfirmation, a termination process for employees on probation. As with all new Metro officers, Wills, who had been with the force since May 2016, was on probation.
“I think he believed, as we did, that it wouldn’t matter anyway,” Grammas said.
The police union thought it appeared Wills was facing nonconfirmation because of the shooting, Grammas said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of issues with this officer until this shooting came up,” he said.
Hadfield said the department is unable to comment on personnel matters. A request for the notice of nonconfirmation was denied, as personnel records are confidential, police said.
Attempts to reach Wills for comment weren’t successful.
About 10:15 p.m. on May 12, police received a call of a woman who had reportedly swung a shovel at two people and was “acting erratically” in the 3400 block of Big Sur Drive, near Desert Inn Road and Nellis Boulevard, police have said.
Body-worn camera footage provided by police in May showed Wills arriving, drawing his gun and pointing it at the woman, Sommer Richards, then 34, who appeared to be yelling at Wills. Wills got between Richards and the two people she had allegedly threatened.
While Wills, then 23, repeatedly told Richards to drop the shovel, one of the people behind the officer had moved toward the sidewalk. Wills told Richards four times in about 30 seconds that he would shoot her if she took another step, the footage showed.
When Richards started to walk toward the sidewalk from the middle of the street at 10:21 p.m., Wills fired seven rounds at her, striking her each time, police said. The footage provided by police ended after the first shot.
Richards, reached by phone last week, denied the shovel was used as a weapon. She said she picked it out of a garbage can with the intent of using it to teach yardwork to her 11-year-old son.
Her mother, Toni Murphy, lived in the neighborhood and was home at the time. But it would be a couple of days before Murphy discovered the police presence in her neighborhood that night was for her daughter.
“I never would’ve dreamt in years that that would’ve been my kid on the next street over,” Murphy said.
Richards was hospitalized, then jailed at Clark County Detention Center. She has limited mobility in her right arm as a result of her injuries.
Richards was sentenced this month to four years of probation with the stipulation she complete mental health and substance abuse evaluations. She pleaded guilty to one count of assault with a deadly weapon via an Alford plea, which requires a defendant to admit only that prosecutors could prove their case.
Richards survived the shooting only to become a stabbing victim in a series of events that also ended with a police shooting on Aug. 24, her mother told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“How much more does a person have to endure?” Murphy said.
Richards has mental health issues and struggles to care for herself, Murphy said. Her mental health has improved recently, but she still needs surgery on her arm, orthopedic therapy and additional mental health services, Murphy said.
“As soon as I lift any more than like 3 pounds, I can feel the pain and the strain,” in her elbow, arm and hand, Richards said.
Richards was released in August after spending about 90 days in jail. A few days later, Richards, who hasn’t had stable housing for a few years, fell asleep on a Regional Transportation Commission bus stopped near Spring Mountain Road and Rainbow Boulevard. She awoke to a stranger’s arm wrapped around her and something digging into her throat, Murphy said.
She was randomly stabbed by a man, who left the bus and stabbed another woman on a sidewalk. Police shot the man, identified as Caleb Rydlin Hill, as he jogged past an occupied bus stop near the intersection.
Hill faces two counts of attempted murder with a deadly weapon and one count of resisting an officer with a deadly weapon that isn’t a firearm, court records show.
This time, Richards received stitches for her injuries.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” she said. “I’m surprised what’s happened to me.”