Wife Sues Cops For Shooting Her Husband Who Was Holding Her Hostage At Gunpoint
Las Vegas, NV – A woman has sued the police who rescued her from her armed husband for “unreasonable force” two years after the incident.
The shooting occurred on Nov. 11, 2017 after Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer David Nesheiwat responded to a 911 call from a concerned citizen who said a man was choking a woman in front of a convenience store on Pyle Avenue, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
When the first officer arrived on the scene, he found Phillip Pitts holding his wife, Shondell Pitts, at gunpoint.
“It was immediately apparent that the male was holding the female and had a gun in his hand,” Metro Police Captain Kelly McMahill said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Surveillance video captured a physical struggle between the two before police arrived. Police bodycams filmed the rest of the incident.
Clark County Assistant Sheriff Tom Roberts said the couple’s 10-year-old daughter had been trying to separate them before police arrived, and officers moved her to safety upon arrival at the scene.
The video showed that the first officer arrived and gave Pitts orders to drop the gun. He also repeatedly told the wife to move away from her gun-wielding husband.
Officer Nesheiwat, an 11-year veteran of the police force, arrived on the scene less than a minute after the first officer.
He told Pitts to drop his gun. When the suspect did not comply, Officer Nesheiwat shot him four times.
One of the rounds Officer Nesheiwat fired at the suspect went through Pitts’ arm and into his wife’s stomach, Sheriff Roberts explained during a press conference after the shooting.
Pitts was transported to University Medical Center where he died.
Shondell Pitts underwent surgery for her wounds and recovered.
Police said the investigation determined that Pitts did not fire his weapon before he was put down.
The Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review Board determined in June of 2018 that the police department and Officer Nesheiwat had complied with department policies and procedures during the incident, KVVU reported.
Shondell Pitts filed her lawsuit on Nov. 11, the second anniversary of the incident, and claimed that police used “unreasonable force” because she was wounded by their gunfire and the shooting took place nearby propane tanks, KTNV reported.
The suit alleged that Shondell Pitts’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by Las Vegas Metropolitan police during the incident, KVVU reported.
Shondell Pitts has also sued the owners of the FuelZone Mart convenience store where the shooting happened and the store’s clerk, KTNV reported.
She claimed the store clerk acted in a manner that endangered herself and her daughter.
The complaint said that the clerk at first refused to unlock the convenience store to let her and her daughter hide from her husband, who was chasing them with a gun, KTNV reported.
It alleged that after he let them into the store to hide, the clerk did not keep Shondell Pitts and her daughter safe, but instead allowed her armed husband into the store just minutes later, before police had arrived.
The lawsuit is seeking compensation for her and her daughter’s emotional pain and suffering during, and as a result of, the officer-involved shooting, according to KVVU.
The Clark County District Attorney’s Office report on the shooting said that “there was a long history of unreported domestic violence in this family,” KLAS reported.