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Lawsuit alleges man killed by police did not pose imminent threat

Updated January 27, 2023 - 3:40 pm

The family of a man killed by police alleged that law enforcement did not provide needed medical assistance to him after he was shot, according to a complaint filed last week.

On Sept. 21, 2021, police fatally shot Jose Oyuela-Palma, 49, while he was on the balcony of an apartment at 3955 E. Charleston Blvd.

Las Vegas and Henderson police responded to the scene around 2:10 p.m. after getting a call about a person with a gun.

Henderson SWAT officers responded after a mutual aid request from Las Vegas police, which had responded to a second police shooting earlier that day.

The person, who turned out to be Oyuela-Palma, was armed and pointing a gun at citizens and officers, according to police. He allegedly disobeyed officers’ commands and was shot by two SWAT officers.

Oyuela-Palma needed “medical and/or mental health care and treatment,” and police did not request the people needed to care for someone in distress, according to the complaint filed in District Court.

The complaint alleges that the officers’ actions agitated Oyuela-Palma, causing his medical needs to increase. It also said police “escalated the situation.”

Oyuela-Palma, according to the complaint, did not pose an imminent risk to officers’ lives and once he was shot he was not given adequate medical assistance for his injuries.

The city of Henderson, the Henderson Police Department, the Metropolitan Police Department and several anonymous officers were named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Attorneys on behalf of Oyuela-Palma’s family alleged that the defendants were negligent in their hiring, supervision and training; that Oyuela-Palma suffered wrongful death; that officers used excessive force; denied Oyuela-Palma medical care; violated his civil rights; and caused emotional distress, according to the complaint.

The two Henderson officers were identified as Logan Tillmon and Mark Street.

Oyuela-Palma died at the scene and his death was ruled a homicide from gunshot wounds to the chest, according to the coroner.

The Metropolitan Police Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“Our City Attorney’s Office will address allegations brought forward in the lawsuit in their response to the court,” city of Henderson spokeswoman Kathleen Richards said in an email.

Attorneys representing the family did not respond to a request for comment as of Friday afternoon.

Contact David Wilson at dwilson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @davidwilson_RJ on Twitter.

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