Washoe DA Says Hug High School Officer-Involved Shooting Justified
The Washoe County District Attorney's Office has released its report on the 2016 officer-involved shooting at Hug High School, calling the shooting justified and not a criminal act.
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has finally released his report on the officer-involved shooting at Hug High School that left an armed student seriously injured. He has ruled that the shooting was justified.
The incident started in December of 2016 after a fight broke out between two students.
The report says after being hit, then 14-year-old Logan Clark pulled out a pair of knives and cut the other student.
Clark chased him around the school before school police officer Cory Coombes intervened.
The report says Officer Coombes told Clark to drop the knives, but when Clark refused, Officer Coombes fired a single shot.
Hicks says a number of cell phone videos and witness interviews corroborated the report.
But the family of Clark says he had faced constant bullying at school.
They spoke to CBS News in 2017. They say a stroke in the hospital after the shooting left him with severe brain trauma affecting his speech, and requiring him to wear a helmet for protection. (read that story below)
You can the entire 36-page DA report by clicking here.
The Washoe County School District released this statement:
We appreciate the diligent investigation that went into the December 7, 2016 incident at Procter Hug High School. Specifically, we are grateful that the findings support our own investigation into the incident, which fully exonerated School Police Officer Cory Coombes. It is clear that Officer Coombes’ brave and decisive action that day protected students and staff and prevented further injury or loss of life.
Washoe County School District (WCSD) Police Officers are commissioned, sworn law enforcement officers, trained to the highest standards and code of conduct.
WCSD Police Officers will continue to provide safe learning environments in our schools, provide valuable resources to staff members, and prepare staff and students through training and drills. School Police Officers will continue to foster positive relationships with our students and families each and every day including developing strategies to resolve problems affecting students and families. WCSD Police Officers will work diligently to continue to protect all our students, so that they may reach their fullest potentials.
Once again, we would like to thank all those involved in the investigation including Reno Police Department, Sparks Police Department, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and the District Attorney’s Office for their work, as well as Officer Coombes for his unfailing commitment to protect the students we serve.
The Reno teenager who was shot by a school police officer is speaking out for the first time about what happened. Cell phone video captured Logan Clark waving two knives into a crowd of students at Hug High School. Moments later, a school district officer fired a single shot.
A subsequent stroke in the hospital left him with severe brain trauma, impacting his speech and requiring him to wear a helmet for protection.
While talking is tough for Clark these days, he has no trouble remembering the morning of December 7.
“When you went to school that day, did you feel like you had to protect yourself?” CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal asked Clark.
“Yeah,” he responded in an interview you’ll see only on “CBS This Morning.”
Clark’s mother and grandmother said he took the weapons to school after repeated bullying.
“When you hear people say that bringing a knife to school isn’t the answer to bullying, how do you respond to that?” Villarreal asked.
“It’s not the answer. But to a 14-year-old kid, I guess it is the ... you know, not to hurt anybody with the knives, but just to get them off of you,” said his grandmother, Nancy Pitchford.
“I’m not defending my son bringing knives to school whatsoever,” Clark’s mother, Cheryl Pitchford said. “But what I ask myself is, what makes the school officer think that it’s okay to shoot my son?”
The Reno police department said Clark had been involved in a fight with another student that day and that the school district officer opened fire after the teen acknowledged him and ignored commands to drop the knives.
“I do not believe that environment would allow Logan to have heard the police officer,” family attorney David Houston said.
A day after the shooting, Washoe County Schools superintendent Traci Davis praised responding officers for keeping the other students safe.
“Had it not been for their quick actions and professionalism, I truly believe that the outcome could have been much worse,” Davis said last December.
“Why not use a Taser? … Why not shoot him in the foot?” Nancy Pitchford asked. “And having other kids standing around behind Logan and could’ve struck another kid.”
The name of the officer has not been released, and in a statement the school district told CBS News: “Because the incident in question is still under investigation by an outside police agency, we are unable to provide any information at this time.”
Clark said he misses school and his friends, but he doesn’t want to go back.
“No. Not there,” he said.
Officials are now conducting two separate investigations to determine whether the shooting was justified and if charges should be brought against the school officer or the student.
“With that possibility out there, how do you respond to that?” Villarreal asked.
“That you know being shot and almost dying, that would be kind of like punishment enough,” Nancy Pitchford said.
The Reno Police Department cannot comment at this time as the investigation is ongoing, but after the event in a press release they stated that "the officer fired a single gunshot striking the 14-year-old and stopping the threat.” As the story mentioned, whether that was an appropriate use of force is still under investigation.
(CBS News contributed to this report.)