RENO, Nev. (AP) - Washoe County sheriff’s detectives are investigating whether criminal charges may be warranted after a Spanish Springs man apparently shot and killed two strangers he says confronted him and his elderly father outside their home north of Reno over the weekend.
The father also was shot during the confrontation that began when they went to check on the sound of a loud disturbance outside their home near the Pyramid Highway about 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Washoe County sheriff’s Lt. Tom Green said Monday.
The father was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, he said.
No charges have been filed.
Green said they’re still investigating but it appears only one gun was involved. He said the various scenarios include the possibility the son - who is in his late 50s - accidentally shot his father or the gun went off during a struggle.
“At this point, we are exploring all possibilities,” he told The Associated Press on Monday. “In a homicide investigation, it’s rare that we make an arrest right away … The residents are cooperating.”
Deputies found the two dead men after they responded to the residential area near McLemore Court and Palm Springs Drive on a report of shots fired about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. The preliminary investigation indicates the man and his father went out to their front yard after they heard the unspecified disturbance, sheriff’s spokesman Bob Harmon said in a statement.
“The homeowners were confronted by two male adults, both unknown to them,” Harmon said. “The residents sustained injuries as the confrontation escalated. During this time, the son shot at the two subjects, resulting in their deaths.”
No names have been released.
The Washoe County Medical Examiner’s office was conducting an autopsy on the two victims late Monday, Green said.
Nevada is one of 30 states with so-called “stand-your-ground laws” that allow for the use of deadly force against attackers posing an imminent threat regardless of whether the aggressor is armed. Nevada law says the shooter cannot be “the original aggressor.”
The law is currently in the spotlight in Washoe District Court where a murder trial is pending for a 73-year-old Sparks man, Wayne Burgarello, in the February 2014 fatal shooting of two unarmed trespassers he found in a vacant, rundown duplex he owns east of Reno in February 2014 Burgarello claims he was acting in self-defense.
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