D.A. finds officer involved shooting justified, victim's family not notified

Reported by: Madison Corney
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Updated: 7/11 12:27 am

Reno-Sparks, NV (KRNV & MyNews4.com) – Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick released a final report on June 17, 2014 regarding an officer involved shooting that took the life of Kenneth Stafford on July 11, 2013. Stafford’s family was never notified by authorities that the final report had been released.

“I want to know why I wasn’t notified. No offense, but why did I have to hear it from you?” asked Aimee Stafford, the wife of Kenneth Stafford who was shot and killed by Reno and Sparks police officers on July 11, 2013. 

Washoe County investigators took the lead in the case and admit they were responsible for notifying the family that the final report had been released, but that they failed to do so. 

“This family had a right to know about the results of this report coming back and it was our job to tell it to them. Quite frankly we didn’t do that and I’ll take this opportunity on behalf of the agency and I was just in talking to Sheriff Haley and he asked me to extend his apologies to the family,” says Bob Harmon, a spokesperson for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. 

Nearly one year after the shooting, on June 17, 2014 the District Attorney released his decision in the case saying it was a justified shooting. News 4 obtained the full investigation report and the 911 call made by Aimee on July 11, 2013. 

According to reports, Kenneth Stafford, an active military member on leave, left the home he was visiting in Sparks with a shotgun. 11 minutes after police made contact with the 27 year old Army soldier, officers say negotiations weren’t successful. 

In the final report Washoe County District Attorney, Richard Gammick determined the shooting to be justified under all applicable laws. 

Stafford’s wife, Aimee doesn’t accept that decision, “I don’t see anything about that situation that was justifiable, um he was shot 15, 14 or 15 times. There’s no need for that ad the places he was shot, there’s no need for that.” 

The autopsy report reveals 14 bullets hit Stafford, in his forehead, neck, chest, abdomen, ankle, knee and thigh.

Gammick says, “The officers have to make a call. Unless you’ve warn the badge, unless you’ve been out there and confronted people with weapons, you don’t understand that those decisions are made in split seconds, it’s not something you can 20/20 hindsight and spend the next four months analyzing.” 

Prior to officers opening fire, reports indicate that police requested a less lethal device, “Officers requested a 40mm launcher, which would have had a mid-range potential solution,” says Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen. 

That device was never used and officers say Stafford escalated his behavior “to the point of quickly turning towards the officers in the backyard in a manner such as to point the shotgun at them.”

Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen says the audio and video captured that day illustrates that all five shooting officers reacted simultaneously firing 22 shots, 14 of them hitting Stafford.

“The fact that all the officers on scene perceived the same thing at the same moment really they all took independent and justifiable actions against Mr. Stafford. The fact that there are 22 rounds, if you take the number of officers involved it’s a relatively low number of rounds per officer,” says Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen.

“I just wanted them to help him. He was lost he, the PTSD had taken over and he couldn’t get out. I just wanted him to get some help,” says Aimee Stafford. 

As she mourned the loss of her husband, Aimee was shocked to find out a number of the officers involved in the shooting were awarded medals for their actions that day.

“I just don’t feel like what they did to him deserves that. He tried for a long time to keep his mask on and he just couldn’t do it anymore. And I just need everyone to remember that he wasn’t just some crazy guy with a gun, ya know, he wasn’t a drugee or a criminal, he was a soldier,” says Aimee Stafford.

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Paladin - 7/14/2014 1:16 PM
0 Votes
Reno Jim is the only one making ANY sense here. Blame the military and our veterans medical system for failing to recognize his PTSD or properly dealing with it, but don't blame the cops for protecting themselves and ME as a Sparks resident. My tax dollars go the the police to protect me from mentally unstable people running around with a shotgun. Had Stafford complied with their orders to drop the weapon and surrender this wouldn't have happened. Stafford forced the situation to end like it did by ignoring the officers commands and pointing the shotgun at them. I am sure he was a good man, but due to his mental illness HE chose to end his own life.

cpncopper - 7/13/2014 10:33 AM
0 Votes
This act was truly a slap to the deceased and behavior typical of the Da's office. The report is delayed until the act goes off the radar and then released. This tactic has been used before.

goodgrief - 7/12/2014 12:22 PM
0 Votes
" The Sparks police and the DA are covering up what really happened. Believe what you want." I will believe what I want and it certainly isn't your paranoid gibberish. Now, put some tin foil on your head and get back in your bunker. Those black helicopters are coming for you!

JG1234 - 7/11/2014 10:14 PM
0 Votes
I am not saying what Kenny did was okay. I do understand it was a serious situation. I will say when police arrived on the scene; Kenny wasn’t walking around with the gun. He was scared and hiding in a shed. He was talking to negotiators and asked for a cigarette. The police are stating he made a motion as if he was pointing a rifle. They did not clarify if he actually pointed a rifle or not. I said nothing about if they should or should not hide. I’m saying, in my opinion, they do NOT deserve medals in this situation. It makes it seem like they are glorifying what they did. Kenny was a soldier who suffered PTSD from combat, serving his country. All officers involved knew this before they arrived on the scene. They could have used the launcher. They made a choice not to. They could have also treated his family with some respect. That officer’s apology about not notifying the family about the report is a joke! He did it intentionally. The family has asked him for the report time and time again. This country needs to help our soldiers. This kind of thing is happening all the time. It’s not right! I believe the police did not have to murder him. You may say that’s what they are trained to do or they didn’t have time to discuss it. I have seen many times, in much more serious conditions; officers intentionally injure the person during a standoff.You would think that because Kenny was a soldier, with no police record, they could and should have handled it differently.

renojim - 7/11/2014 7:21 PM
1 Vote
So JG, should they not have been hiding. You act as if a crazy man wasn't walking around with a shotgun?? Should they have stood in the open??? Five officers let out 22 rounds, thats 4 shots each. When he aimed his shotgun towards officers in a firing position should the officers have huddled up and asked each other who was going to shoot?? Come on, I know you mourn the loss of your friend but you need to own the fact he put himself in that position and commited suicide by cop, and now those officers will suffer from PTSD the same way he did. Come on man, common sense.....

JG1234 - 7/11/2014 6:24 PM
2 Votes
It’s funny……everyone goes around telling our soldiers how grateful they are and thanking them for serving our country. Then when they are sent home, suffering from PTSD from combat, America turns their backs on them. The Sparks police and the DA are covering up what really happened. Believe what you want. The real crime is the Sparks police are actually handing out medals of Valor to officers for hiding behind a fence and shooting Kenny 14 times. I hardly think that deserves a medal.Also the lack of respect that they have shown to his wife and family is DISGUSTING!!!

Dennis3092 - 7/11/2014 12:18 PM
1 Vote
As long as Mr. Gammick is our DA it willnever be the fault of the officer in any shooting in this county. Right or wrong that is the reality of the Washoe County Justice system. So the guy was in the wrong, but 14 shots, really?

sniderling - 7/11/2014 11:46 AM
0 Votes
Actually he was a crazy guy. It's sad that he died, but uh... he was crazy. That's what PTSD is, a type of mental illness. Sorry that he died, but it wasn't those officers fault. He was a mentally ill person with a shotgun.

renojim - 7/11/2014 8:37 AM
0 Votes
You can blame the Military, US Government, his doctors, and many others for not getting him the mental health help he needed, you cannot blame the officers on the ground who have no idea who this man is other then he is in a neighborhood with a shotgun. It's unfortunate, but no police officer wakes up in the morning saying "I hope I run into a man with a gun so I can kill him".
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