Officer who shot, killed Gulf War veteran fired

For the first time in Las Vegas police history, an officer has been fired for an on-duty police shooting.

But it’s unclear if former officer Jesus Arevalo, who shot and killed unarmed Gulf War veteran Stanley Gibson in 2011, is done with the department. He has 30 days to appeal his firing, which was effective Tuesday.

Chris Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, said he isn’t certain if Arevalo will appeal. If he does, an outside arbitrator will make the final decision about his job.

“Time is beating him up pretty good,” Collins said. “He’s been living this thing for two years now. I don’t know if he’s got any fight left in him.”

Arevalo’s firing came a few weeks after his Sept. 30 hearing before the department’s pre-termination board, which unanimously recommended his dismissal.

The pre-termination board agreed with the department’s Use of Force Review Board, which first recommended Arevalo’s firing in May.

The Use of Force Review Board is a seven-member panel of three officers and four citizens who review police shootings and other serious use of force.

The pre-termination board is a smaller board of three internal officers that review termination proceedings. Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie has the final say in any firing, and in Arevalo’s case he agreed with his two review boards.

“Based on Officer Arevalo’s actions during this event it was the decision of the pre-termination board he lacked the ability to make sound decisions in situations routinely faced by police officers,” a Wednesday statement from the department said.

Although Gillespie and his review boards agreed with Arevalo’s firing, there hasn’t always been such harmony.

The Use of Force Review Board recommended officer Jacquar Roston’s firing in April after Roston showed little remorse for shooting Lawrence Gordon in the leg in November. Roston mistook the shine from the label of Gordon’s hat for a gun when Gordon reached under his seat. Gordon was unarmed.

But Roston changed his tune in front of the pre-termination board and admitted his mistakes. That board recommended a 40-hour unpaid suspension, the harshest punishments short of firing at the department. Gillespie agreed.

The fallout from Gillespie’s decision included the abrupt retirement of Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody, who oversaw changes to the Use of Force Review Board and felt the sheriff undermined its integrity.

Six civilian members of the review board also resigned in support of Moody, who later announced his candidacy for sheriff. Gillespie recently said he will not seek a third term.

Gillespie said Wednesday that Arevalo’s case was different from Roston, in part because both review boards agreed.

The pre-termination board comments “pretty much mirrored that of the recommendations made in regards to (Arevalo’s) actions by the Use of Force Review Board,” Gillespie said.

He was able to make a quicker decision on Arevalo compared to Roston because he was so familiar with the details of the Gibson shooting, which was heavily scrutinized, he said.

“I had to prepare on a number of occasions for depositions in the Gibson case,” he said.

Despite the controversy, the Roston and Arevalo shooting reviews were a stark from the department’s past. Before this year, no officer had ever been fired for an on-duty shooting and few were ever disciplined.

But the department adopted new policies in the wake of a U.S. Department of Justice review in the wake of a Review-Journal investigation of police shootings. The Justice Department found the department’s policies were outdated and failed to hold officers accountable.

The Use of Force Board, previously seen as a rubber stamp that justified officers’ actions in all shootings, was overhauled last year.

In a favorable progress report last month, the Justice Department commended the department’s willingness to implement its recommendations and noted the lower number of shootings and the higher instances of discipline when officers failed protocol.

Gibson’s death was one of several high-profile Las Vegas police shootings that sparked the Justice Department’s interest.

Gibson, 43, was killed Dec. 12, 2011, during a standoff at the Alondra apartments, 2451 N. Rainbow Blvd., near Smoke Ranch Road, which began with a mistaken attempted burglary report.

Gibson’s family said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and his mental condition had deteriorated in the weeks before the shooting. Lost, the veteran drove into the apartment complex near his home and was circling the parking lot when officers arrived and boxed his Cadillac between two patrol cars. Gibson refused to get out of the car.

Officers at the scene didn’t know if Gibson had a weapon, and didn’t know he was mentally ill, even though he had two recent contacts with their department. The last encounter was just hours earlier.

Sgt. Michael Hnatuick’s initial plan called for officers to approach the car from the left rear — Gibson’s blind spot.

Officer Malik Grego-Smith was to shoot out the Cadillac’s rear window with a beanbag shotgun, and Hnatuick was to blast pepper spray into the car.

Arevalo was to provide cover with his AR-15 on the left side of Gibson’s car, and officer John Tromboni was set to cover the approaching officers with a standard 12-gauge shotgun.

But before the plan was implemented, Lt. David Dockendorf arrived, took control of the operation and pulled the officers back.

Arevalo, assuming the plan had been called off, asked to provide cover on the right side of the command post, separated from his supervisors by a concrete trash bin enclosure. Hnatuick said yes.

A short time later, Gibson, who had been lying down in his car, sat up and began revving the engine and spinning the wheels. Gibson had done this several times before Dockendorf was on scene.

He reacted by grabbing Grego-Smith and yelling into his radio, “All right, units, we’re moving in. Shoot.”

Dockendorf meant only that Grego-Smith was to shoot the beanbag gun. Many officers later told detectives their radios were not working properly and they never heard Dockendorf. Arevalo refused to speak to detectives after the incident, so it’s unclear what he heard.

A split-second after Grego-Smith shot out the Cadillac’s rear passenger window, Arevalo fired his rifle, hitting Gibson four times. He died at the scene.

Arevalo was not the only officer punished. Dockendorf was to be demoted two ranks, to officer. Hnatuick was given a 40-hour suspension, the department’s maximum punishment short of firing.

All punishments were subject to union grievance procedures.

Arevalo’s firing comes just a week after the Review-Journal reported that Las Vegas police are set to pay $1.5 million to Gibson’s widow. The tentative settlement will go before the department’s Fiscal Affairs Committee on Oct. 28.

If approved, it will be the second million-dollar payout for a police shooting in the past two years and the department’s fourth million-dollar payout overall in the past three years.

The department paid $1.7 million in 2012 to the family of Trevon Cole, an unarmed man killed in a botched drug raid in 2010.

Even if an arbitrator saves Arevalo’s job for the Gibson shooting, Arevalo could also be fired for his separate domestic troubles, according to police sources.

Arevalo was charged with assault and disturbing the peace, both misdemeanors, for a Feb. 2 incident at Canyon Ridge Church with his ex-wife, Catherine Arevalo, and her boyfriend, Steve Delao, according to court documents.

Delao later sought a temporary restraining order against him, telling police Arevalo threatened him.

Gillespie said Arevalo’s domestic situation was something he considered, although it played a small part.

“This was not a big factor in my decision, but the pre-term board also discussed his off-duty incident at the church,” he said.

Arevalo received $133,927.07 in salary and benefits last year while on suspension. His pay for this year was not available.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283. Follow @blasky on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Navigating the new I-515 southbound to 215 Beltway ramp configuration
After opening at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, the new Interstate 515 southbound to the 215 Beltway westbound freeway ramp configuration caused confusion amongst motorist. Here’s how to navigate the new ramp. (Mick Akers/ Las Vegas Review-Journal).
Crime
Police Update on Fremont Street Shooting
Lt. Ray Spencer gives an update regarding a homicide investigation that occurred in front of a bus stop near Fremont Street and Casino Center, involving a security officer and another male.
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Alleged Las Vegas casino con man, who was on the run, appears in court
Mark Georgantas -- who entered a plea deal on a charge of stealing from people he met at Las Vegas casinos, but failed to show up for sentencing -- appearing in court after being captured in Utah. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Memorial service for Kwavon’tia Thomas
Timika Thomas sings during a memorial service for her son, Kwavon’tia Gregory Thomas, at Unity Baptist Church in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Kwavon’tia was shot and killed on Christmas Eve. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVMPD Looking For Blue Bucket Bandit - VIDEO
On December 31, 2018 detectives with the LVMPD Northwest Area Command Patrol Investigations Section received a report of the theft of a surveillance camera from the front porch of a residence located in the area of West Lake Mead Boulevard and North Rampart Boulevard. The victim in this case became aware of other residents in the neighborhood who had been the victim of similar crimes.
16-year-old boy fatally shot in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas police were investigating the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, marking the department’s first homicide investigation this year. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police searching for man in Christmas robbery
A man walked into a business about 2:35 a.m. Dec. 25 on the 5000 block of South Eastern Avenue, near East Tropicana Avenue, and “committed a robbery,” a police release said. Police wrote that a person followed him outside of the business, and the man pointed a gun at him. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Fatal shooting at Green Valley Ranch casino
Henderson Police Department Lt. Kirk Moore briefs the media on a fatal shooting at Green Valley Ranch casino in Henderson on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police release video of suspect in armed robbery
Las Vegas police released video Monday in an effort to identify a man they said robbed a convenience store clerk at gunpoint last week.
Buffalo Wild Wings Hit and Run
Here's the surveillance of the hit-and-run crash in front of BWW, in which a woman repeatedly crashed into a manager's vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot. She walks in, asks how long the wait is, then storms off after being told of the 10-minute wait time. Footage courtesy of manager Daniel Rees.
Multi-agency DUI Strike Team focused solely on arresting impaired drivers
The newly formed DUI Strike Team made up of Las Vegas police officers and Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers have hit the streets looking for impaired drivers. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jury finds former corrections officers not guilty on all counts
Paul Valdez and Jose Navarrete, two former Nevada Department of Corrections officers accused of using unnecessary force on an inmate were both found not guilty on all charges after a jury deliberated less than 2 hours.
Henderson Constable appears in court
Earl Mitchell, the Henderson Constable indicted on four counts of theft and one count of fraudulent appropriation of property, appeared in court Thursday.
Former FBI agent recalls tragic case 20 years later
Timothy Blackburn robbed a Bank of America depository in December 1998 for more than $1 million — the largest bank robbery in Nevada’s history. After eluding authorities initially, Blackburn was caught and jailed at the North Las Vegas Detention Center. In August 1999, he escaped, guns blazing, with his wife’s help, and disappeared for weeks only to be found at an apartment near Boulder Highway. Former FBI Agent Henry Schlumpf, the lead on the case, remembers vividly the hostage situation that would end tragically. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer Shoots Suspect in Nye County - Bodycam
A Nye County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man Thursday night. Jason Paul O’Bannon, 46, died after the altercation with police. Reports of a man firing a weapon outside his house brought police to the scene just after 8 p.m. Detective Wesley Fancher fired the shot that killed O’Bannon, police said. O’Bannon had a “lengthy criminal history” in California and Nevada dating to 1988, according to police
Nye County sheriff news conference on officer-involved shooting
Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly details the police response as officers came under fire Thursday when a man was shooting a rifle in his yard. When the man pointed a weapon at an officer, police opened fire. The man died.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing - 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
The Mob Museum
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Man shot, killed by Las Vegas police after traffic stop
Las Vegas police give a briefing after a man was shot and killed by an officer following a traffic stop. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video of suspect in Home Depot parking lot shooting
A man who was injured in a Nov. 20 shooting in the southwest Las Vegas Valley died at a hospital Tuesday, the Clark County coroner’s office said.
Nevada Task Force 1 Dog Units Return
Four dogs and their handlers returned to the Las Vegas Valley on Thursday, November 29, 2018, after deploying to the Paradise, California wildfire last week. The dogs, trained in human remains detection, are part of Nevada Task Force 1, a Federal Emergency Management Agency urban search and rescue team. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police thwart brazen kidnapping attempt
Metro officers suspicious of woman claiming to be with Child Protective Services prevent possible kidnapping of three-week-old infant.
Shot Spotter technology used by Metro extended for another year
Gunfire location technology being used by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department gets extended for another year of evaluation.
Nye County pursuit ends in rollover crash caught by dashcam
A truck flipped twice before landing on its wheels as a driver tried to flee Nye County Sheriff's deputies on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.
Nevada Highway Patrol stops wrong-way driver on Thanksgiving
The Nevada Highway Patrol has released dashboard and body camera video showing troopers deploying spike strips to stop a suspected impaired wrong-way driver early Thanksgiving Day. (Nevada Highway Patrol)
DUI sentencing
The parents of 8-year-old Levi Echenique speak after a woman who drove under the influence of marijuana and killed the boy was sent to prison.
3 Pahrump residents arrested on false imprisonment charges
James Thatcher, 28 of Pahrump, Chelsea Demille, 30 of Pahrump, and Sandra Wombles, 19 of Pahrump were all arrested after it was discovered that they were holding an adult female and male prisoners in their bedroom. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
2 kids struck by gunfire in North Las Vegas shooting
On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, people opened fire into a residence in the 3600 block of Hamlin Place in North Las Vegas. Two kids were hit by gunfire and sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to North Las Vegas police. Anyone with information is asked to call the NLVPD at 702-633-9111.
Stephan Bonnar DUI Arrest
Stephan Bonnar arrested for DUI in Nevada.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like