Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 | 6:28 p.m.
A judge Tuesday dropped two charges against a Henderson man who is accused of shooting three Metro Police SWAT officers during a narcotics raid on his Seven Hills home.
Justice of the Peace David Gibson reduced the bail for Emmanuel Dozier from $3.5 million to $75,000, dismissed one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one of discharging a firearm inside a structure, and criticized the Metro tactics during a preliminary hearing in Henderson Justice Court.
Dozier, 32, still faces nine charges — three counts of attempted murder, three counts of battery with a deadly weapon and three counts of selling cocaine — and is set to be arraigned Feb. 2 in District Court.
"This case cries out for a lot of things," Gibson said. "The policy used by the department in how to get people out of a house needs to be re-evaluated ... This is a scary, scary situation and this whole thing was handled in an unusual way."
Gibson said there was not enough evidence for the assault with a deadly weapon charge. He pointed to evidence suggesting that Dozier was firing from a low, defensive position.
Metro Sgt. James Causey testified that during the raid, about 9:30 p.m. Dec. 28, he and his fellow officers shouted repeatedly “police, search warrant!”
Belinda Saavedra, Dozier's 34-year-old girlfriend, said she never heard police officers announce themselves. Her 13-year-old daughter, who also testified that she never heard the words "police" or "search warrant," came to tell Saavedra someone was breaking into the house. Saavedra had to wake Dozier, she said. Their 3-month-old son was also in the house.
"Mr. Dozier was acting to save his own family and save himself," his attorney, Joseph Abood said.
The warrant was issued, an undercover Metro narcotics detective testified, after he purchased cocaine from Dozier in front of Dozier's home on three separate occasions in December. Each transaction was for $180 and involved about 3.7 grams of cocaine.
Because of prior criminal charges, Causey said, Metro decided to use the SWAT team for the raid. A police van parked in front of the garage, he said, and two teams of officers gathered at the front door.
After a pry bar was unsuccessful in breaking through the iron bars of the door, a specialized shotgun designed to breach door locks was fired three times at the door.
When the shotgun didn't work, officers began to break through an adjacent window when shots were fired from inside the house, Causey said.
Causey and Officer Charles Collingwood were each hit once in the leg and Officer Patrick Ledbetter was hit once in the leg and once in the hand.
All three were treated at University Medical Center and released, with the bullet still lodged in Causey's leg and Ledbetter likely never to regain full use of his left hand.
Dozier, a former worker at a sheet metal factory in Las Vegas, was arrested after he put down his handgun and exited the house through the garage.
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].