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August 22, 2014

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Mother of ‘Thunder’ suspect wonders why strippers weren’t arrested in son’s beating

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L.E. Baskow

Joey Kadmiri, who is accused of trying to steal costumes from Thunder From Down Under and then pulling a gun on the male revue’s performers, awaits his arraignment at Clark County Regional Justice Center on Monday, March 24, 2014.

Joey Kadmiri Court Hearing

Joey Kadmiri, who is accused of trying to steal costumes from Thunder Down Under and then pulling a gun on the male revue's performers, shares a fist bump with another detainee after his arraignment at the Clark County Regional Justice Center on Monday, March 24, 2014. Launch slideshow »

The mother of the man accused of sparking a backstage brawl last month with cast members of Thunder From Down Under doesn’t deny that her son should have been arrested.

Las Vegas resident Zina Kadmiri just wants to know what happened and is worried the investigation is pinning everything on her son, Joey Kadmiri, 24, when perhaps he wasn’t the aggressor.

In an interview with the Sun, Zina Kadmiri acknowledged her son’s mental health problems and past arguments with him about his decision to self-medicate with methamphetamine. But Joey Kadmiri’s alleged violent acts during the incident, Zina Kadmiri is adamant, are out of character for him.

Joey Kadmiri got into a fight with six dancers in the Excalibur male strip revue March 18 when they caught him backstage with props and costumes from the show, according to a Metro Police report. The report said a dancer noticed some items were out of place in a clump, and while he and another dancer were inspecting them, Joey Kadmiri appeared and said the items were his. A struggle ensued. Joey Kadmiri pulled out a gun and narrowly missed shooting one of the dancers in the head, according to the report.

The dancers knocked the gun out of Kadmiri’s hand and subdued him, leaving him in need of medical attention. Excalibur security stepped in until Metro Police arrived, according to the report.

“They should have all been arrested — not just take one and leave the strippers on the loose,” Zina Kadmiri said in an interview last week, shaking her head at the thought of the men who beat her son being allowed to finish their show.

Zina Kadmiri wants to know how detectives determined the unregistered handgun belonged to her son. Zina Kadmiri also said she wondered if the strippers also were using drugs and if that was a factor in her son’s beating.

The fact that the performers took the law into their own hands — and have seemingly been rewarded in the media for doing so — is frustrating, said the suspect’s 21-year-old sister, Mariam Kadmiri, who also sat in on last week’s interview.

“Their jobs are to take off their clothes; security is there to protect,” said Mariam Kadmiri.

“If they would have just called security they could have detained him. They didn’t have to beat him up.”

Joey Kadmiri was charged last week in a 17-count indictment that included one count of attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon, one count of burglary while in possession of a firearm, six counts of robbery with use of a deadly weapon, and discharge of a firearm within a structure.

Zina Kadmiri said she’d been struggling to help her son with his mental illness for years. His outbursts had become progressively worse in the past few months. The two had fought about his recent methamphetamine use, and Zina Kadmiri had threatened to cut off her son financially.

A jarring incident a few months prior to Joey Kadmiri’s run-in with the Thunder cast made his mother certain she needed to do something.

The mother and son were out for dinner. To Zina Kadmiri, the smile to let the sushi chef know she’d like a particular dish was a simple gesture.

To Joey Kadmiri it was a set up.

“You’re giving him a signal!” Joey Kadmiri yelled at his mother, bolting out of the restaurant. Zina Kadmiri was used to her son suffering from delusions that everyone was a cop and out to get him, but never in such dramatic fashion.

After the incident, Zina Kadmiri called Montevista Hospital. Hospital personnel told her that because Joey Kadmiri was neither a danger to himself nor others, nor was he volunteering to come, he could not be admitted. To bring Joey Kadmiri in for treatment, Zina Kadmiri said she was told, would be kidnapping.

Schizophrenia runs in her family, and Zina Kadmiri said she was frustrated and wanted to prevent her son from getting to the point where he was a danger to himself or others.

Months later, those fears were the subject of local and national headlines.

The media coverage seemed jeering and made her son look like a monster, Zina Kadmiri said.

“He’s a really gentle giant,” Zina Kadmiri said. “I know my son and he is not what they are telling me he is.”

Zina Kadmiri echoed the sentiment of Joey Kadmiri, who in a jailhouse interview on March 21 said he didn’t really remember the incident – only the overwhelming fear that someone was after him.

“I didn’t try to hurt anyone. I know myself,” Joey Kadmiri said. “I was just trying to protect myself and be safe.”

The Excalibur incident was by no means Joey Kadmiri’s first run-in with the law.

He is charged in a separate case with assault with a deadly weapon, first-degree kidnapping and battery constituting domestic violence and coercion.

His mother contends that case, which dates to November 2013, stems from lies made up by an ex-girlfriend. But a judge on Monday found enough merit in the case to bind it over for trial in Clark County District Court pending a competency hearing, according to Las Vegas Township Justice Court records.

Court records show Joey Kadmiri has faced other charges, including jaywalking, providing false information to police and resisting an officer. He was convicted of misdemeanor escape in 2011 for attempting to flee the police, according to court records.

Joey Kadmiri remains in Clark County Detention Center without bail. He is due April 17 in Clark County District Court for his arraignment on the grand jury charges.

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