Security firm sued in Vegas over 2 deaths involving guards
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas branch of a national security firm is facing two wrongful death lawsuits in Nevada stemming encounters with guards employed by the company.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports one lawsuit was filed in 2018 against a guard and Securitas Security Services USA in Clark County District Court, and the second was filed in April against several unnamed guards and companies including Securitas.
The local office declined to comment to the newspaper and officials with the national company did not respond to messages from The Associated Press.
The case filed in 2018 stems from the death of 36-year-old Jonathan Blackstone in February of that year.
It alleges that security guards tackled Blackstone in front of Showcase Mall on the Las Vegas Strip, sat on him and restricted his ability to breathe until he became unconscious and died.
Blackstone, who had schizophrenia, was accused of acting erratically before the guards “dog-piled him,” according to attorney Benjamin Cloward, who represents Blackstone’s sister.
The Clark County coroner determined Blackstone asphyxiated while being restrained “by multiple individuals.” Medical examiners listed schizophrenia, cocaine and methamphetamine intoxication and obesity as contributing factors in his death.
Police investigated, but Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson declined to prosecute. He told the Review-Journal that prosecutors reviewed security camera footage before he determined there was insufficient evidence that the guards committed a crime.
The district attorney said Blackstone struggled for more than a minute and a half with four security officers before Las Vegas police arrived and an officer determined Blackstone wasn’t breathing. Blackstone was not revived by CPR.
No individual guards were named in the lawsuit. Securitas was listed along with other unidentified security companies because the four guards involved worked for different companies, Cloward said.
The other lawsuit stems from the January 2017 death of 57-year-old Kimberlee Ann Kincaid-Hill, a Henderson jewelry store employee killed by a stray shot when a security guard opened fire at a would-be robber, who ran away.
Henderson police characterized the shooting as an accident and did not seek criminal charges against the guard, whom they refused to name.
Court and state records identify him as Michael Deshawn Lyons, a Nevada Private Investigators Board licensee since 2007 hired by Securitas in 2015.
Todd Moody, an attorney representing Lyons’ estate, said there is no allegation her death was intentional.
He said the focus is on whether Securitas properly trained Lyons and whether Lyons was familiar with the gun he used.
Lyons is still a licensed security guard, the Review-Journal said, and state records still list him as a Securitas employee. He is no longer qualified to carry a firearm.
Kevin Ingram, board executive director, said Lyons’ firearm certification lapsed and there was no disciplinary action in Lyons’ file.
The newspaper says Lyons could not be reached for comment, and an attorney representing Lyons and Securitas did not respond to messages.