Parents of armed man killed during Vegas protest sue police
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The parents of an armed and armor-wearing man who was shot and killed by Las Vegas police during a racial justice protest in front of a U.S. courthouse have filed a federal wrongful death and negligence lawsuit seeking damages from the police department and four officers.
The court filing says Jorge A. Gomez, 25, was shot 19 times late June 1 outside the downtown Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse.
Attorneys Rodolfo Gonzalez and Edgar Flores, who filed the complaint, did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment. The lawsuit was filed Saturday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, seeking unspecified damages from the department on behalf of Jeanne Llera of Osceola, Florida, and Jorge L. Gomez of Las Vegas.
The filing acknowledges Gomez was armed, asserts that he was lawfully exercising his Second Amendment gun rights, and says he wore a ballistic vest “not in violation of Nevada state law.”
Gomez never verbally threatened officers, the document said, never pointed a gun at anyone and never fired or tried to fire his weapon.
Police Officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez declined to comment for the department. He referred questions about the incident to video of a police briefing with media held June 5.
Gomez’s slaying occurred amid protests in Las Vegas calling for racial justice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
It happened the same night and minutes after, but about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) away from, where Police Officer Shay Mikalonis was critically wounded by a gunshot on the Las Vegas Strip. A 20-year-old man was arrested and faces multiple felony charges in Mikalonis’ shooting. The officer remains paralyzed.
Police said Gomez was dressed in black tactical gear and carried three handguns, including one mounted in what Assistant Clark County Sheriff Chris Jones called a “carbine conversion kit” that made it resemble a rifle.
Gomez was among people who remained near the courthouse several hours after protests began when police ordered demonstrators to disperse. He was hit several times by five police beanbag projectiles before he was fatally shot. Jones said Gomez raised a gun toward officers helping another officer on the ground.
Surveillance cameras were active around the courthouse, but the officers involved in the shooting were not wearing body cameras because they were from an administrative training bureau, police said.
Jones said they were driving to the scene of Mikalonis’ shooting when they encountered Gomez running near the courthouse after being hit by beanbag shots.
Family members and their attorneys have said they’ve only seen short clips of video that police provided of the fatal encounter, and asked for witnesses to provide cellphone video.
This story corrects the title Assistant Clark County Sheriff Chris Jones, not deputy police chief.