Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

Currently: 100° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Officer who killed Gulf War vet Stanley Gibson to face termination hearing

Image

Brian Nordli

Sheriff Doug Gillespie addresses his decision to recommend the termination of Officer Jesus Arevalo on Friday, May 31, 2013.

Police Fatality Review: Stanley Gibson

Rondha Gibson, the widow of Stanley Gibson, listens during the first Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review concerning the Dec. 12, 2011 shooting of Stanley Gibson by a Metro Police officer at the Clark County Government Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Jesus Arevalo, the Metro Police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Gulf War veteran nearly 18 months ago, faces termination from the force, Sheriff Doug Gillespie announced Friday afternoon

The veteran, 43-year-old Stanley Gibson, suffered four gunshot wounds after Arevalo fired seven rounds from a rifle at Gibson’s car during a police standoff in the early morning hours of Dec. 12, 2011.

In a news conference Friday, Gillespie said Metro’s Critical Incident Review Process Board conducted an investigation into the shooting and concluded there were “critical missteps” by Metro officers at Gibson’s shooting.

“Although there were multiple issues cited by the board regarding tactics and decision-making, ultimately Officer Jesus Arevalo was the only officer who used deadly force,” Gillespie said.

Because of that, Gillespie said he was approving the board’s recommendation that Arevalo be fired.

Before Arevalo’s termination can take effect, however, he will be able to make his case at an internal pre-termination hearing before three Metro officers.

In a letter this afternoon to the membership of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, union lawyer David Roger vowed, “We will mount a vigorous defense for Officer Arevalo.”

That pre-termination board will be formed within 15 days, then the hearing will be scheduled. At the conclusion of the hearing, those officers will make their recommendation whether to terminate Arevalo.

Ultimately, however, Gillespie will make the decision.

The deadly incident unfolded in the early-morning hours that day at the Alondra Condominiums, 2451 N. Rainbow Blvd., after reports of an attempted burglary.

When the suspect vehicle described to police — a white Cadillac — showed back up at the complex, officers blocked it in and realized it belonged to Gibson.

Gibson, who suffered from anxiety and depression, had been on police radar after bizarre behavior the previous two days landed him brief stints in the city jail and hospital.

But in a Police Fatality Public Factfinding Review conducted earlier this year, Metro detective Clifford Mogg said officers at the scene had no information about Gibson’s recent contact with police.

Gibson refused commands to exit his vehicle, then rammed a patrol car and periodically revved the engine and spun the tires, Mogg said.

The situation prompted a sergeant on scene to devise a plan to shoot a nonlethal bean-bag round into the Cadillac and then disperse pepper spray to force Gibson out, Mogg said.

Meanwhile, Arevalo — one of five team members briefed on the original positioning — had asked to change positions, Mogg said. He switched to a spot about 29 feet from the Cadillac, facing the passenger side of the vehicle.

A short time later, Mogg said Lt. David Dockendorf decided to modify the original plan by approaching from a different angle.

Dockendorf said he made “eye contact” with the officer in charge of firing the bean-bag round into the vehicle, but he did not communicate the repositioning with any other officers. Arevalo, now on the opposite side of Gibson’s vehicle, was not aware of the change, Mogg said.

When the bean-bag round hit the vehicle window, Arevalo mistakenly thought he was being shot at and returned fire. He fired seven shots from his .223-caliber rifle into the Cadillac, killing Gibson.

At Friday’s news conference, Gillespie said Dockendorf and Metro Sgt. Michael Hnatuick also would face disciplinary action in Gibson’s shooting. Their discipline, however, does not rise to the level of termination, Gillespie said.

In December, a Clark County grand jury declined to indict Arevalo on any criminal charges related to the shooting.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 7 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. If a cop ever needed firing; It would be this one.

  2. If this officer is fired so should the Lt and Sgt. Also Gillespie should resign.

    The broken radio system that Gillespie has poured $40 millions taxpayer dollars is a prime factor in this shoot. The officer didn't hear the radio traffic regarding the Lt and Sgt's plan.

    The Lt and Sgt didn't make sure everyone on scene was on the same page. Also I understand the Lt and Sgt were told to hold tight until a negotiator and SWAT were on scene.

    To put the majority of the blame on the officer is wrong. His supervisors and the sheriff failed him and the poor victim.

  3. So far Arevalo has had a year and a half paid vacation on us, the taxpayers, after executing one of us. Nice going, Sheriff!

    "Amazing that the debate here is simply about whether he should retain his job or not, with no discussion as to criminal charges. I fear Metro more than the criminals in this city."

    thinkdifferent -- well said!

    "If the exercise of constitutional rights will thwart the effectiveness of a system of law enforcement, then there is something very wrong with that system." -- Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 490 (1964)

  4. When I interviewed with the media in regards to Gulf War Veteran Stanley Gibson and the termination of LVMPD Officer Jesus Arevalo; I was asked "what would satisfy the community". Well first the community needs to know what is happening within the LVMPD so they have a clear understanding of what really goes on behind closed doors. It is a positive outcome in that Officer Arevalo's termination would prevent him from destroying another family. However Arevalo is not facing criminal proceedings for Gibson's death. Arevalo is undergoing an Internal Investigation by the LVMPD for assault and verbal treat to do bodily harm against Steve Delao that will be forward to the DA's office for prosecution. One bad Police Officer could destroy an entire department and the LVMPD has several. We need to know the state of mind of a police officer prior to him pressing the trigger. In the case of Jesus Arevalo: Officer Arevalo was going through a child custody battle and a divorce, he had a major problem with Black Americans, the "N word" was constantly used in his vocabulary, he had several internal write-ups in his LVMPD personal records one of those write-ups is because of a racial situation he had with a Lesbian woman. If these incidents have been addressed and Arevalo was given proper consequences for his behaviors, like maybe taking him off the streets for one, then Gibson would be alive today.

    This is the type of LVMPD Officers the PPA President Chris Collins and former DA David Roger protects! Collins made a statement yesterday to the media while he was being interviewed on the Golf Course at tax payers' expense. Collins has no accountability he and 7 other LVMPD Officers gets paid as police officers yet do no police work, they work only for the union that appears to cover up bad cops actions. We are paying these cops from public money to work for a private entity, this type of behavior was ruled unconstitutional in other states and Nevada needs to catch up!

    We need to ask ourselves "how many Jesus Arevalo is on the LVMPD?" Some of us in the community are finally taking a stand against corruption, bad training, bad leadership, and terrible moral within our police department. The only way to rid ourselves of bad policing is to remove the head of the organization. Until we elect a new Sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; nothing will change. We will do whatever it takes to make people from this community know that the only reason why people in the community support Doug Gillespie is "greed and power" so they can control him to do their bidden.
    Steve Sanson President Veterans In Politics International

  5. Unfortunately LVMPD has dirty cops. I hope justice is served for the Gibson family. Mr. Sanson seems to have very accurate information about Arevelo. There is always more than what the media is reporting. It appears LVMPD is terminating him for various reasons and not only just for the Gibson incident.

  6. @Mr. Sanson: Who is Steve Delao?

  7. What would satisfy the community? NEW HIRING POLICIES. Enough of hiring a "quota" of minorities. Hire QUALIFIED TRAINABLE RATIONAL adults. Redo whatever psychological testing that's being done and LOOK FOR SOCIAL WORKER MENTALITY--helping / assisting people. NO MORE RAMBOS.