Published Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 | 3:54 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 | 7 p.m.
Embattled Metro Police Officer Jesus Arevalo, who fatally shot Gulf War veteran Stanley Gibson in December 2011, has lost his job.
Sheriff Doug Gillespie made the final decision and signed an order to terminate Arevalo’s employment Tuesday, the department announced this afternoon in a news release.
The sheriff’s decision comes on the heels of Metro’s pretermination board hearing, held Sept. 30, in which members unanimously recommended firing Arevalo.
In May, the department wrapped up its internal investigation of the deadly shooting. The process included the incident going before the Use of Force Review Board — made up of civilians and commissioned officers — which also recommended his termination.
The pretermination board then reviewed six adverse findings in the final report issued by the team conducting the internal investigation. Those included a violation of the department’s use-of-force policy as well as failures to adhere to training protocols.
“Based on Officer Arevalo’s actions during this event, it was the decision of the pretermination board (that) he lacked the ability to make sound decisions in situations routinely faced by police officers,” according to a statement from the department.
The board forwarded its recommendation to Gillespie on Oct. 10, and the sheriff ultimately agreed.
Per department contract, Arevalo has 30 days to appeal the sheriff’s decision. It’s unclear if he plans to do so.
A spokesman for Chris Collins, executive director of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, said Collins declined to comment on Arevalo’s termination.
The deadly officer-involved shooting happened Dec. 12, 2011, at a condominium complex in the northwest valley. Officers responded there 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.
Police said Gibson refused commands to get out of his vehicle and rammed a patrol car periodically, revving his car’s engine and spinning its tires.
Authorities on scene devised a plan to fire a bean-bag round into Gibson’s vehicle, but 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, whom his wife said suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Andre Lagomarsino, an attorney representing Gibson’s mother and brother, said Celeste and Rudy Gibson experienced a variety of emotions today after learning of Arevalo’s termination.
“It’s bittersweet,” Lagomarsino said. “There’s no closure; there’s no happiness. They just want their (son and brother) back.”
The sheriff’s decision puzzled his family to a certain extent because of Gillespie’s strong opposition to the incident going before a grand jury, Lagomarsino said.
In December, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson sent the case to a grand jury, which decided against indicting Arevalo on criminal charges.
Overall, Lagomarsino said Gibson’s family was pleased with the termination decision because it means the community “doesn’t face the risk of having him on the streets.”
Losing his job wasn’t the only bad news Arevalo received in the past week.
Arevalo had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Aug. 29, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents. In his filing, Arevalo noted that his estimated assets don’t exceed $50,000, but that his liabilities could be as much as $10 million.
(Arevalo is named as a defendant in lawsuits filed by both Gibson’s wife and mother.)
After a review of his filing, a court-appointed trustee determined that “the debtor’s case should be presumed to be an abuse,” according to court documents. The trustee wrote that Arevalo’s current monthly income, which was not disclosed, exceeded requirements set forth by bankruptcy law.
Arevalo joined Metro in February 2002 and was a patrol officer assigned to the department’s Northwest Area Command at the time of the Gibson shooting.