It's an agonizing wait for a Reno mother whose sone was shot and killed over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Even though police know who did it, no charges have been filed and after seven months, no one has been arrested.
We have decided to keep the suspect's name out of this story since he has not been charged with a crime. But we went to the police and the district attorney for answers.
Joni Spade says her son Michael Boyle's obituary which appeared in the local newspaper is about the only publicity the case has ever received.
Michael was shot and killed at point blank range on july third outside the Freight House parking lot in downtown Reno.
He was shot by a young Iraq War veteran and a friend of Michael's who had just shown up to give Michael and another friend a ride.
For some reason as Michael opened the door to get in-- police say the driver picked up his gun and shot his friend dead.
According to a one paragraph news release from Reno Police, the shooting happened when the victim startled the suspect.
Police say Boyle was unarmed though and its unclear at this point why the suspect felt threatened.
He'd clearly been drinking. Officers say the shooter had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit to drive when he was tested five hours after the shooting.
District Attorney Dick Gammick says police on the scene that night decided not to make an arrest after consulting with his office.
"My chief deputy was the one on-call. he's the one that got all of the facts. he asked them if they wanted to make an arrest. and the decision was made by the reno police department, not by us," Gammick told News 4.
But soon after, Reno Police Did want to make an arrest. Chief Steve Pitss says the suspect's claim of self-defense did not hold-up.
"The issue of self-defense, the alleged issue of self-defense, I don't think that existed at all," Pitts says.
Pitts says Reno Police asked for an arrest warrant three days after the shooting but the district attorney's office declined, saying more investigation was needed. Nearly a month later, on August first, RPD submitted its completed investigation to the D.A.'s office and again recommended the suspect be arrested. But the district attorney's office again declined, according to Chief Pitts.
"They had probable cause to make an arrest but the district attorney had asked that we continue to collect follow up information." said Pitts.
For Michael Boyle's family, the tragedy has been followed by seven months of waiting and wondering.
"Losing a child this way is the worst," Joni Spade told us. "Having no arrest made is killer. It's unbearable. So yeah, I'm highly frustrated."
The district attorney's office has had the case since August first to do some of its own investigating, and has yet to request an arrest warrant. The question is why ?
"We don't do O.J. Simpson cases here. We don't go to a trial and wait to see what the lab is going to come up with or wait to see what the doctors are going to come up with . We go into a trial prepared," said Washoe County District Attorney Dick Gammick.
But with so much evidence pointing at the suspect, why not arrest him ? News 4 posed that question to Gammick on behalf of Michael Boyle's family and friends.
"Are you protecting the susect for some reason?" We asked. "I think I've answered that question for you 14 ways from Sunday. I don't know how else I can answer it, we're not going to go off half-cocked because people are concerned about the timeline," Gammick told us.
Gammick says his office is waiting on additional lab tests and doctors information from the V-A hospital. He says he thinks there could be significant information in the suspect's medical records that could effect the prosecution.
But here is where the timeline becomes important: From information given to News 4 from the district attorney's office, Reno Police and the V-A, the case was turned over to the district attorney's office in early August. It took about three months until anybody asked for the records. When police called the V-A asking how to get the records that call was made in late October. They asked for the military records in November in a letter and were denied. So in December, the V-A received an administrative subpoena from Chief Pitts. That was rejected by the V-A. Then in January police got a search warrant for the records and that search warrant was denied by the V-A.
So what does it take get someone's medical records if they haven't been arrested ?
"You need a signed release by the patient and in this case they didn't have that so we had
To deny it," said Darin Farr, spokesman for the V-A hospital.
As time marches on, Joni Spade is not only dealing with tremendous grief over the loss of her only child, but mounting frustration as well.
"I was told it could take up 3 months," she said. "I was patient. Then 4 months hit. And then 5, and 6. And i know so little about the case. That seems strange to me."