LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the police officers involved in the deaths of Jason Baires, Marc Hull and Bernard Pate acted lawfully.
“In these incidents, the police officers were dealing with armed and dangerous suspects,” District Attorney Steven Wolfson said in a statement. “The Baires and Hull cases are especially noteworthy because the suspects fired at and wounded police officers. These confrontations had tragic and deadly endings, but the officers had to take the actions they did to protect themselves, their fellow officers and the public.”
Traditionally, officer-involved deaths were reviewed by a coroner’s inquest hearing, during which officers and witnesses provided public testimony in a courtroom setting. However, changes to the inquest procedures drew legal challenges that have stalled the process. The last coroner’s inquest hearing was held in September 2010, and there is currently a backlog of 20 cases. In light of this delay, Wolfson ordered reviews of the cases awaiting an inquest hearing. Including the three reviews released today, Wolfson has now released 17 reviews of officer-involved deaths.
“The reviews give the public answers about the most serious actions of our police officers,” Wolfson said.
According to the reviews released today:
• At about 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 9, 2011, police were called to a Wal-Mart at 3615 S. Rainbow Blvd., because a store employee was concerned that two people were going to try to illegally acquire about $4,000 in electronics. While the police were there, the suspect tried to use a credit card that didn’t match his identification. While police were bringing the suspect, later identified as Marc Hull, through the store, Hull pulled out a handgun. Hull then shot at the officers while running through the store, wounding one officer. Police returned fire and Hull died.
• At about 11 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2011, police saw a man in a playground area at the Karen Pines Apartments at 4450 E. Karen Ave. As the police approached, the man, later identified as Bernard Pate, ran from the police. Pate pulled out a handgun and aimed it at an officer, at which time a police officer shot at Pate, who died at the scene.
• On the evening of Feb. 1, police were searching for Jason Baires, as he was a suspect in the Jan. 31 murder of his mother’s boyfriend. Police received information about where Baires was and stopped a vehicle that Baires was in on the 5300 block of West Carmen Boulevard. Baires got out of the vehicle and ran. The police chased Baires in their vehicles, ultimately hitting Baires with a vehicle and trapping his arm under the tire of a police vehicle on the 1100 block of North Michael Way. Baires then started firing at officers with a handgun, wounding one officer. Police returned fire and Baires died at the scene.
The determinations that the officer acted lawfully in these situations is based upon the evidence available at this time. The cases could be reexamined if new information comes to light. The full reviews are available on the District Attorney’s Web page. Subsequent reviews will also be posted on the Web page when they are completed.
-- From news release