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August 29, 2014

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Detective at fact-finding review: Police tried to negotiate with man they eventually killed

A fact-finding review gave the public more insight into the fatal shooting of a Las Vegas man by Henderson police.

After a two-hour standoff Nov. 7, 2012, Henderson SWAT officers fired nine lethal and 11 nonlethal rounds at Justin Hoey, 36, after he pointed his gun at police, said Chad Mitchell, the lead detective investigation Hoey's death.

Police pursued Hoey after his ex-girlfriend, Ariella Kidd, called police at 11:30 p.m.

Kidd told Mitchell that when she came home, she noticed that her Chevy Trailblazer, some money and keys were missing. Hoey then sent her on a wild chase to retrieve the items, sending her to a gas station and then to a Lowe’s.

Unable to figure out how to tell her to get to the Lowe’s, he gave his phone to a cashier, who directed Kidd to the store. Kidd found Hoey in the parking lot, where he got out of a stolen red Jeep, reached through the window of Kidd’s truck, and punched her and grabbed her hair, she told Mitchell. Hoey got back in the Jeep and rammed into her truck before driving off. She followed him to a Verizon Wireless store, where he pulled out a handgun and told Kidd he was going to die and police would shoot him, Mitchell said. Police received several calls related to the incident prior to Kidd’s call at the Verizon Wireless store, Mitchell said.

When police located Hoey, they cornered him before he fell down an embankment and lay against a concrete wall next to a wash.

Before SWAT arrived, Mitchell estimated around 20 to 30 officers surrounded Hoey.

Hoey appeared disoriented throughout the night, and a blood test showed his blood alcohol level was .11 and he had 320 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine in his system. A person would be considered under the influence while driving if he or she had a blood alcohol level of .08 or had 100 nanograms per milliliter of methamphetamine in his or her system.

A SWAT officer tried to negotiate with Hoey, who said he didn’t want to go back to prison and that he would kill himself.

Officers threw him a water bottle and offered to get him cigarettes or beer if he would put down the gun.

After a more the two standoff, Hoey put his hoodie over his head, looked up and pointed the gun directly at an officer. Police then fired lethal rounds. Hoey fell, still holding the gun. He was still moving, and the lack of light prevented the officers from seeing the the gun, so they shot nonlethal rounds.

Hoey had 15 separate gun shot wounds, and medical attention was ready at the scene.

Mitchell listened to recordings made by microphones on police officers to help him piece together what happened. He arrived on the scene at about 2:30 a.m., after Hoey was shot.

All of the officers at the scene told Mitchell they did not want to be interviewed for his investigation.

During the fact-finding review, a prosecutor asked questions and Terrence Jackson acted as ombudsman, asking questions on behalf of the public and Hoey’s family.

Jackson showed a picture of Hoey at the family’s request. Hoey’s family lives out of state and did not attend the review but did submit several questions.

Fact-finding reviews are intended to give the public insight into police-involved deaths after the District Attorney’s Office makes a preliminary determination not to prosecute a police officer-involved death.

In 30 to 45 days, the District Attorney’s Office will release a use of force report that will contain a factual summary, legal analysis and conclusion of the criminality or noncriminality of the officers involved.

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