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Police review fatal shooting during fact-finding hearing

Las Vegas police called the fatal police shooting of a 33-year-old man on Feb. 8 a “culmination of events from two days prior.”

On Feb. 6, two days before police shot and killed Roberto Torres, the man shot his pregnant girlfriend in the head while she slept on the couch, detective Clifford Mogg said Friday during a review of the fatal police shooting held at the Clark County Government Center. It was the sixth Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review held since January when the new process replaced the coroner’s inquest.

The girlfriend, who Mogg did not identify, was shot by Torres in close proximity with a .25 caliber pistol, Mogg said. The bullet did not penetrate her skull due to the low caliber of the gun, but she suffered several burns from stippling, or burns caused by gunpowder touching the skin.

She told police that Torres had been acting paranoid in the weeks leading up to the shooting, saying that he began to hear voices in the walls and mirrors, and thought that people were going to come through their attic and air conditioning vents.

An autopsy performed on Torres by Dr. Gary Telgenhoff on Feb. 9, the day after he was shot, showed that Torres had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the fatal shooting, Mogg said.

The shooting of his girlfriend immediately alerted police to how dangerous Torres could be if confronted.

“If he’s willing to shoot someone who is in close relationship to him, he probably wouldn’t hesitate to shoot or take somebody hostage that he didn’t know,” Mogg said.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Torres the next day, Feb. 7.

Patrol officers saw a car believed to belong to Torres later that day and attempted to pull it over, but the suspect fled and got away after a short pursuit, Mogg said.

On Feb. 8, police set up a stakeout of an apartment in the 4100 block of Pennwood Avenue where they thought Torres was staying.

Officers saw Torres leave the apartment in a grey hooded sweatshirt and approach a man and a woman near a dark blue Honda Accord. Police did not know who the two other people were initially, and the plan was to take all three into custody and sort it out afterward, Mogg said.

The man and woman, who were not identified by police during the review, were trying to sell the car to Torres after he responded to an ad on Craigslist, Mogg said.

About 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 8, several officers, including officers Joseph Parra, who had responded to the shooting of Torres’ girlfriend on Feb. 6, and Scott Thomas, moved in on the car where Torres and the others were talking.

Officers commanded all three to get down and put their hands up, Mogg said.

That’s when Torres reached for his pistol and pointed it at Parra, Mogg said, forcing the officers to shoot him.

Parra fired a single shot from his .40 caliber Heckler and Koch pistol and Thomas fired six rounds from his 9 mm Sig Sauer. Torres was shot a total of three times. A .25 caliber casing was found next to where he fell, Mogg said.

Only 22 seconds passed from the time officers began moving in on Torres to when officers called for a medical response after Torres was shot.

The two selling the car were unintentionally shot during the exchange, Mogg said.

The female bystander suffered a grazing wound to her left ankle from the gunfire while the the man was struck in the shoulder after police said he stepped between Parra’s shooting line of Torres almost simultaneously as he fired his weapon. The man was transported to the University Medical Center with “a bullet lodged near his spine,” Mogg said.

Ballistics showed that the pistol Torres pointed at police was the same one used to shoot his girlfriend two days before, Mogg said.

Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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