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County Reviews SWAT Team Killing

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Las Vegas CBS KXNT- A police fatality review of events leading up to the shooting of Justin Hoey last year by Henderson SWAT team officers revealed no new facts, the Clark County District Attorney’s office said on Friday.

The fatality review was the third since the process replaced the coroner’s inquest, which was found by the Nevada Supreme Court to have an unconstitutional element. Both procedures allow a public vetting of details of surrounding officer-involved shooting investigations.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson issued a preliminary report earlier this year, finding that three officers acted within the law when they shot Hoey in the early hours of November 7, 2012.

The shooting was investigated by Henderson Police Detective Chad Mitchell, who described the episode beginning with a frantic 911 call from Hoey’s former girlfriend, Ariella Kidd, whom he’d lured to a parking lot on St. Rose Parkway. Hoey had broken into her house earlier in the evening, and taken money and other belongings, Mitchell said.

Hoey guided Kidd by phone to the spot where he was waiting in a stolen Jeep. When she found him, he roughed her up, pointed a gun at her, and told her he would die that night because the police would shoot him. Then he ran off.

Kidd told police who responded to her call that Hoey for several months had said he would kill himself before he would return to prison. He was an ex-convict, and the subject of several criminal investigations at the time of his death.

Police chased Hoey on foot, and surrounded him after he fell down a rocky embankment while running through a vacant lot in the dark, Mitchell testified. Hoey kept his weapon trained on himself during a standoff in which he said he was trying to decide whether he “had the guts” to kill himself, or would force the police to do it.

When he finally turned the gun toward a SWAT team member, three officers fired at Hoey, killing him. A toxicology report showed Hoey had amphetamine, methamphetamine, and alcohol in his system.

The fatality review was sparsely attended, with no apparent representation by Hoey’s family except through county-appointed Ombudsman Terrence Jackson, who asked a list of questions on their behalf.

If additional evidence had been introduced at the fatality review, the district attorney’s preliminary finding could be reconsidered, Deputy District Attorney David Stanton told KXNT. Wolfson’s office will issue a final finding now that the public review has concluded.

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