District Attorney Report on Officer Involved Shooting - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

District Attorney Report on Officer Involved Shooting

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From the District Attorney:

DATE/TIME:  October 13, 2013/1506 Woodhaven Lane, Sparks, NV

DECEASED:  Monica RITCHEY, DOB:  04-23-1968

SUBJECTS:  Darcie LATHAM, wounded by Sparks Officer, daughter of Deceased RITCHEY 

                      Brittnie ANDREWS-ZELLEFROW, daughter of Deceased RITCHEY


DETAILS:  After reviewing the final investigation report completed by Reno Police Department as the lead agency with the assistance of the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, it is my opinion that the shooting death of Monica RITCHEY by Officer SIMPSON and Sgt KEATING was justifiable under all applicable laws.  The wounding of Darcie LATHAM by Officer MOWBRAY was also justifiable in that, according to the evidence presented in the final report, at the time he shot Officer MOWBRAY had a reasonable belief that Sgt KEATING and/or Officer SIMPSON were in imminent danger of being shot, as explained below.

On the above date the three listed Sparks PD officers were dispatched to Woodhaven pursuant to a telephoned report by LATHAM that her mother RITCHEY had a loaded gun which she was firing into the air and pointing at her head threatening suicide.  LATHAM further stated that her mother was on prescription drugs and had been depressed lately.  Officer SIMPSON and Sgt KEATING responded from the north of the residence while Officer MOWBRAY approached from the south.  When Officer SIMPSON arrived first he observed LATHAM and ANDREWS-ZELLEFROW standing in front of the residence in the general area of RITCHEY who was pointing a gun at her head and yelling.  ANDREWS-ZELLEFROW was standing between RITCHEY and SIMPSON so he decided to back away hoping that the action would de-escalate the situation.  By this time Sgt KEATING was on site, also backing away from the women.

Unfortunately this strategy did not work and resulted in RITCHEY pointing her weapon in the direction of SIMPSON and KEATING.  With ANDREWS-ZELLEFROW still in his line of fire, Sgt KEATING directed MOWBRAY, who he saw approaching from the south, to “take the shot”.  Officer MOWBRAY was unable to see RITCHEY but was watching LATHAM who had walked into the street with one of her hands at the side of her head.  She was too far away for MOWBRAY to see what she had in her hands.  Rather than shoot, MOWBRAY asked for confirmation and was told over the radio that the female had a gun in her hand and had pointed it at SIMPSON and KEATING.  Based on the information he had and believing that LATHAM had a gun in her hand as well as advancing on SIMPSON and KEATING, MOWBRAY fired one round from his rifle striking LATHAM in the leg and knocking her to the ground.  After she fell, MOWBRAY noted that LATHAM no longer had anything in her hands, but continued to cover her.  Officer MOWBRAY then heard gunfire and realizing it was coming in his direction, took cover.  The initial belief of the other officers was that RITCHEY had shot LATHAM.

Having heard a single shot (later determined to be the one fired by Officer MOWBRAY) and seeing RITCHEY still holding the gun she had pointed at officers earlier, Sgt KEATING fired twice at RITCHEY and observed her fall to the ground.  RITCHEY was still moving and had possession of her gun which resulted in Sgt KEATING shooting at her additional times.  While this was happening, Officer SIMPSON started moving to place himself between RITCHEY and LATHAM as he was also firing at RITCHEY.  When RITCHEY was still moving and waving the gun around, SIMPSON fired again.

As officers were covering RITCHEY, another officer drove a patrol car to LATHAM's location where SIMPSON placed her into the car and she was removed from the scene to receive medical attention.  Sgt KEATING, Officer SIMPSON and other officers then approached RITCHEY, observed that she was still breathing and that her gun was lying in the street by her feet.  Once the area was secure a second ambulance was called in and RITCHEY was transported to the hospital where she was declared deceased shortly thereafter.

The subsequent autopsy of RITCHEY placed cause of death as “multiple gunshot wounds”.  The accompanying toxicology report indicated the presence of several medications as well as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.127.

Not only was RITCHEY depressed and on prescription drugs as described by her daughter, LATHAM, and confirmed by the toxicology report, but she was also under the influence of an unknown alcoholic beverage.  Upon arrival officers attempted to de-escalate the situation, but that only resulted with RITCHEY pointing her gun at them.  Each of the three involved officers, each fearing for the safety of each other discharged their weapons wounding LATHAM and killing RITCHEY.  Under these facts and circumstances, it is my opinion that all three officers, KEATING, SIMPSON and MOWBRAY were justified in using deadly force under all applicable laws.

Once again, the Officer Involved Shooting protocol was initiated and followed with professional results.   My thanks to everyone involved in the investigation for the effort to ensure a fair and detailed evaluation.

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