Las Vegas police on Monday searched the new home of Sequioa Pearce, whose fiance was shot and killed by an officer two weeks ago.
Officers were investigating an illegal shooting they thought happened at the residence, but Pearce and her family see the incident as harassment. Their home was left in disarray by officers, who searched for weapons and ammunition and found nothing.
“We just feel like we’re being harassed,” said Pearce’s mother, Trenia Cole, 43.
After Pearce’s fiance, Trevon Cole, was shot at their apartment on Bonanza Road near Eastern Avenue while police were serving a drug warrant June 11, she temporarily moved in with her mother at a public housing complex near Owens Avenue and H Street. She said she gave the new address to police when they interviewed her after the shooting.
Trevon Cole is not related to Sequioa Pearce’s mother, Trenia Cole.
Police were near her new residence on Monday about 11:45 a.m., when a patrol officer was flagged down by a woman in the complex, police said. The woman flagged down an officer over an unrelated incident, Sgt. Andy Walsh said.
The officer then heard shots fired and saw movement at an open upstairs window at the family’s unit. Thinking that was where the shots came from, he called for backup, Walsh said.
The officers then approached the home with a bullhorn and asked for anyone inside to come out, police said.
The only person home was Shannon Sutton, Pearce’s 18-year-old brother. He was upstairs, and it was his bedroom window that was open.
Sutton, who recently graduated from Rancho High School, said that he did not know officers were knocking on the door and that he chose not to answer it. He said he came downstairs when he heard the door open. The door was apparently unlocked, and he said officers were at the foot of the stairs with guns drawn.
Police said that Sutton did not answer the door right away but that he eventually emerged. Police said they entered the home immediately afterward to check whether anyone inside was in danger.
Officers handcuffed Sutton and sat him in the back of a police car on a charge of obstructing a police officer because he would not immediately identify himself, police and Sutton said.
The rest of the family, including Pearce and her week-old daughter, returned home in time to see the incident unfold.
Walsh said officers did not need a warrant to check the home to see whether anyone inside was hurt. But he said they did need a warrant or written consent from a resident to search for guns or ammunition.
Trenia Cole said officers asked her to sign a written consent form in exchange for officers not transporting her son to jail. She felt that put her in an unfair position.
Walsh said that it’s not uncommon for officers to use that sort of leverage.
“If they believe there’s a gun in the residence, we would certainly offer what we could to get the consent to search,” he said.
He added that having a resident sign a consent to search form is faster than getting a search warrant. While police wait for a warrant to be approved, the residents are not allowed inside.
Trenia Cole said she had nothing to hide and signed the card.
“All I ask is that you don’t tear up my house,” she told them.
After police were done searching, family found dresser drawers open, clothes strewn about and furniture moved away from the walls. Police did not find any weapons or ammunition.
Sutton was released with a citation for resisting a police officer. The citation noted that Sutton resisted by moving his handcuffs from behind his back to in front of his body “after several times officers told him don’t do it.”
Sutton said that he snaked the handcuffs down his legs as officers were releasing him from the back of the patrol car and that an officer only once told him not to do it after he already had done it.
Although the family said a sergeant at the scene defused the situation, the incident has angered the family, who will bury Trevon Cole in Los Angeles on Thursday. The 21-year-old was shot once on June 11 by officer Bryan Yant, who has been placed on routine paid administrative leave.
Yant was serving a search warrant after undercover detectives alleged they bought marijuana from Trevon Cole three separate times. Pearce said he was unarmed when police shot him. The Clark County coroner’s office has not determined a manner and cause of death for him, and an inquest has not been scheduled.
The family’s attorney, Andre Lagomarsino, said he had several concerns with Monday’s incident.
“I believe them arresting Sequioa’s brother was unnecessary and unwarranted,” he said. “The search was unwarranted and unnecessary and turned up nothing.”
He also said he thought the incident might be related to Trevon Cole’s death. Investigators recovered marijuana from Trevon Cole’s apartment, but they did not recover weapons.
“It seems like it might be related to the Cole incident,” he said. “Either this is just a crazy coincidence, or they’re fishing.”
Pearce said Monday that her baby is healthy, but she still hasn’t had a chance to grieve in the past two weeks.
“To me, it’s still surreal,” she said.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0440.