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September 16, 2014

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DA clears deputy US marshal in shooting of fugitive

Image

Steve Marcus

A North Las Vegas Police officer works by a suspect’s car, center, at the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting at Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Cheyenne Avenue in North Las Vegas Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012.

Click to enlarge photo

A North Las Vegas Police officer stands near a man's body at the scene of a fatal officer-involved shooting at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Cheyenne Avenue in North Las Vegas Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The man's body is behind orange and black screens at left.

Scene of shooting

A deputy U.S. marshal who shot and killed a fugitive after a car chase in North Las Vegas last year acted lawfully and will not face criminal charges, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office said.

On Sept. 19, the Nevada Fugitive Investigative Task Force was conducting surveillance on a home occupied by Thomas Domagala, wanted on felony warrants in connection with several crimes in Arizona, including the near-fatal pistol-whipping of an elderly man, officials said.

When Domagala left in a car with two women, federal officers attempted to stop it and a chase ensued.

The car, which hit another car at a red light, stopped in the area of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Cheyenne Avenue, and Domagala fled on foot with a loaded gun, authorities said.

Several officers pursued Domagala, instructing him to stop and drop his weapon, officials said. Deputy Marshal Michael Cavener, who was approaching from a different direction, encountered Domagala as he was running toward the officer.

After Domagala failed to obey the officer’s commands and continued running toward Cavener with a gun in his hand, the marshal fired one shot at Domagala, the District Attorney’s Office reported. The report on the shooting said Cavener and Domagala were within seconds of running into each other when Cavener fired.

Domagala was pronounced dead at the scene, and an autopsy showed he had methamphetamine and amphetamine in his blood, officials said.

“Mr. Domagala chose to flee officers and ignored commands to stop running and drop his weapon. He was running, with a gun in his hand, directly at a U.S. Marshal. His actions left the officer no choice but to defend himself, his fellow officers and the citizens in the area,” District Attorney Steven Wolfson said in a statement.

A Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review will not be conducted because federal law enforcement officers are outside the jurisdiction of this process, officials said.

The determination that the officer acted lawfully is based on evidence available at this time, and the case could be reexamined if new information comes to light, the District Attorney’s Office said.

The full report is available on the District Attorney’s website.

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