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October 4, 2015

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Metro officer tied to Costco shooting faces felony weapons charge


Steve Marcus

Metro Police Officer Thomas Mendiola testifies during a coroner’s inquest for Erik Scott at the Regional Justice Center on Sept. 28, 2010. Scott was shot and killed by Metro officers at the Summerlin Costco store July 10.

Updated Monday, Jan. 31, 2011 | 5:15 p.m.

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One of three officers who shot and killed Erik Scott outside the Summerlin Costco last summer has been relieved of duty without pay pending the outcome of a criminal complaint charging him with one felony count of furnishing a firearm to a prohibited person, police said.

After the criminal charges, Metro Police Officer Thomas Mendiola, 23, will face an internal police investigation.

Mendiola, William Mosher and Joshua Stark shot and killed Scott on July 10 outside Costco after authorities say Scott pointed a gun at an officer. A Clark County coroner’s inquest jury ruled in September after six days of testimony the three officers were justified in the shooting.

According to a criminal complaint released Monday, Mendiola gave a .22-caliber Sturm Ruger to Robert Justice, 45, as a gift for working on his car in August 2010. Justice has convictions for two felony offenses and is prohibited from possessing firearms, authorities said.

Mendiola had met Justice in July when Justice first worked on Mendiola’s car, the report said. Justice told police Mendiola gave him the gun, an extra magazine and a box of ammunition as a gift for working on the vehicle.

Justice later sold the gun and a .357-caliber handgun to an undercover detective, the complaint said.

When questioned, Mendiola admitted to giving Justice the gun and knowing he had been in prison. He told police the gun “wasn’t even working, it was just beat up,” the complaint said.

According to the complaint, in September 2010, Mendiola told police that Justice showed him a .357-caliber handgun and he allegedly told Justice, “Dude, you’re not supposed to have that, but you already know that.” Justice replied, “Yeah, no one will know.”

When asked if he knew what Justice was going to do with the guns, the report indicates Mendiola told police, “I don’t know. He said he was collecting ‘em. The Ruger wasn’t for (expletive), I mean, it was rusted, had no sights, it didn’t fire, course I never tried it.”

Mendiola has been with Metro since March 2009. He is assigned to Metro's Patrol Division, Convention Center Area Command.

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