- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Two Las Vegas police officers have been cleared in the shooting death last year of a 24-year-old man with a history of psychiatric issues who lunged from a closet toward them with a metal wrench and screwdriver in his mother’s home.

Officers Glen Taylor and Eli Prunchak acted reasonably and were legally justified in the August 2015 slaying of Abel Correa, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“The investigation showed that Mr. Correa had a history of drug abuse and that he suffered from mental illness,” Wolfson said. “Unfortunately, his actions left officers with no choice.”

Taylor’s police body camera provided a view of the shooting, and police officials showed snippets to the media in the days afterward. Correa could be seen bursting from a closet before he was shot, with one of the officers telling him to get his hands up. Correa’s hands weren’t clearly seen.

An autopsy found that Correa had levels of methamphetamine and amphetamine in his system “known to cause violent and irrational behavior,” Wolfson said, and that he had marijuana in his system. Correa also had been hospitalized for an involuntary mental health evaluation less than two months before the shooting, the prosecutor said.

“Mr. Correa’s mother sought a protective order against her son because she was, in her words, being ‘terrorized’ by him,” Wolfson said.

Police reported being called to the mother’s home several times in the weeks before the shooting for incidents involving mischief calls and mental health concerns about Correa. They included complaints about slashed tires in the neighborhood, Correa smashing items in the house and Correa’s claim that neighbors were putting spells on him.

Police also showed video from a neighbor who called police the morning of the shooting after a person clearly identifiable as Correa throws an object later identified as a steel trailer hitch ball through the neighbor’s window and runs inside Correa’s mother’s house. No one was reported to have been injured.

Wolfson noted that the officers got permission from Correa’s mother to search the home, and that Correa’s brother let officers know that Correa was hiding in the coat closet.

The officers fired a total of six shots as he emerged, and Correa was struck five times, according to the district attorney report.

Taylor and Prunchak were on paid leave during departmental and district attorney reviews of the shooting. Police said Wednesday they’ve returned to work.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide