weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Coroner rules out police gunfire in Henderson couple’s deaths

Henderson police did not kill the young couple found dead after a shootout with officers in a Henderson house last week, the Clark County coroner said Tuesday.

Clark County Coroner Michael Murphy said the evidence indicates that 21-year-old Naira Villarreal-Gonzalez was stabbed and shot twice by her estranged husband, Andres Avitia.

“Nothing would indicate that any police gunfire struck her,” Murphy said.

The coroner’s office determined that Avitia, who was also 21, shot and killed Villarreal-Gonzalez because of the trajectory of the bullets and gunshot residue that was discovered on Villarreal-Gonzalez, he said.

Avitia later turned the gun on himself and died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the neck and head, Murphy said. Avitia was shot once in the knee by a Henderson officer, but that wound didn’t cause Avitia’s death, Murphy said.

There won’t be a coroner’s inquest because the Henderson officers weren’t responsible for Avitia and Villarreal-Gonzalez’s deaths, Murphy said.

Avitia and Villarreal-Gonzalez were found dead in a second-floor bedroom at a house near College Drive and Boulder Highway on May 30. Avitia fired at officers through a bedroom door at the home and one of the bullets hit 47-year-old officer Joe Yzaguirre in the leg. Five Henderson officers returned fire through the door.

The police department is conducting an internal investigation to determine whether the officers acted properly and if the police could learn anything from the shooting.

“I think the officers, who were in a crisis, tried to be as careful as they could,” Henderson Police Chief Richard Perkins said.

“They were heroes. They went in under gunfire to try to save someone’s life. Clearly they worked very hard to do what they signed up to do,” he said.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Governor calls budget special session

Gov. Joe Lombardo has signed a proclamation to convene the Legislature into its 34th special session at 8 p.m. Tuesday to take up the capital projects budget.