Las Vegas, NV – The family of a 16-year-old burglary suspect who shot himself in the head during a standoff with Las Vegas police has filed a $7 million wrongful death lawsuit against the department.
The incident occurred on July 12, 2017, after the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) receive a report that three teenagers had broken into a residence on Droubay Drive, KTNV reported.
Officers arrested an 11-year-old boy at the scene, then began chasing after another suspect, later identified as 16-year-old Anthony Garrett.
Garrett managed to run inside his own home, then went inside the bathroom.
Pursuing officers spotted him carrying a gun, and ordered him to drop it.
Instead, the teen ran into a bedroom and slammed the door.
A moment later, police heard him fire the weapon.
The gunshot prompted police to treat the incident as a standoff, and they immediately backed off and cleared Garrett’s family out of the house, LVMPD Officer Jay Rivera told the Las Vegas Sun at the time.
SWAT officers were dispatched to the scene, and police made numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the barricaded suspect.
Approximately four hours later, officers forced entry into the locked room, and found Garrett with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
“Clearly it’s not the desired outcome that we had,” Officer Rivera said after the standoff. “We would have hoped that the negotiators would have been able to establish contact with him, would have been able to reason with him, and he would have come to his senses and come out peacefully.”
“That would have been the ideal outcome,” he added. “Unfortunately, that’s not what we had here tonight.”
Garrett was rushed to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, where he died two days later.
On July 14, 2017, the coroner ruled that Garrett’s death was a suicide, KTNV reported.
But Garrett’s mother, Taccara Brooks, has filed a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit against the LVMPD, alleging that they subjected her son to excessive force.
“I want answers,” Brooks told KTNV. “I want to know what happened to my son.”
The lawsuit accused the officers of withholding medical attention from the barricaded suspect, and claimed that the officers allowed a K9 to bite Garret and drag him out of the room without justification.
“He was handcuffed, while he was incapacitated, laying there bleeding,” Brooks’ attorney, E. Brent Bryson said, according to KVVU.
The lawsuit also accused the LVMPD of being negligent in its training, hiring, and supervision of employees, and claimed the agency has tolerated instances of excessive force, KTNV reported.
"We don't understand why he was in the house for seven hours if he had a wound," Garrett’s aunt said.
The lawsuit further argued that the LVMPD should have retrained officers after the standoff, so that police would learn how to “avoid an unreasonable risk of harm” to people in the future.
“Many questions need to be resolved regarding the facts and circumstances during this incident," Bryson added.
Brooks claimed that police treated her and her family like “animals" throughout the ordeal, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
She also blasted them for not allowing her to ride in the ambulance with her son.
When they reached the hospital, police “had surrounded it like soldiers” and wouldn’t let her inside for about an hour, Brooks claimed.
Once she was allowed to see her son, she said she couldn’t bring herself to do it, so the police kicked her out, she alleged.
Brooks said that the incident changed her perception of law enforcement.
“Only if that bulled grazed him wasn’t no hatred in my heart till that happened,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. “Thats what changed me I love u son….f--k the police.”