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Three more officer-involved shootings cleared by district attorney

Updated Monday, July 30, 2012 | 4:27 p.m.

Steve Wolfson

Steve Wolfson

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office has determined that Metro Police officers involved in three separate fatal officer involved shootings in 2011 acted lawfully in each instance, according to documents released Monday.

The announcement came after a review of the cases by the District Attorney’s Office.

Previously, officer-involved deaths were reviewed during a coroner’s inquest hearing which included public testimony in a courtroom. But the inquest process has been tied up with legal challenges for the past two years – the last case was heard in September 2010 – prompting District Attorney Steve Wolfson to begin having his office review the cases on its own.

The first case involved the May 27, 2011, shooting death of Alberto Castillo, also known as Carlos Renteria. According to the District Attorney’s Office, police responding to a call near downtown Las Vegas entered a home to discover Castillo holding a silver-colored object to his wife’s neck. Two small children were on the nearby bed.

After evacuating the children, police ordered Castillo to release his wife, which Castillo refused to do, prompting officers to shoot him with Tasers, the district attorney’s report said.

As police attempted to subdue him, Castillo kicked an officer and grabbed his Taser, prompting the officer to shoot Castillo, the report said.

Blood tests performed on Castillo showed he had high levels of amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death, the report said.

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The second case was the July 4, 2011, death of Luis Silva, who was shot in a home in the northeast valley.

Officers responding to the home found Silva in a bedroom holding a gun to his head, the report said. Police shot Silva with beanbags, Tasers and in the arm with a pistol, but he refused to drop his gun, the report said.

Silva then pointed his gun at an officer, who shot Silva in the chest, the District Attorney’s Office said.

The third and final case cleared Monday by the district attorney was the July 14, 2011, shooting death of Rafael Alonso Olivas.

During that incident, officers responded to a call of a man acting erratically in the western valley.

According to the district attorney’s report, police encountered Olivas walking down the street while carrying a knife in his hand.

Officers ordered Olivas to drop his weapon and shot him with beanbags, but Olivas continued advancing toward the officers with his knife, prompting the officers to shoot him.

Olivas' family has filed a civil case in U.S. District Court against Metro, demanding more than $9 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The discovery phase of the proceedings has just recently been ordered.

In a statement, Wolfson said the decision by his office to clear the officers involved in the shootings of wrongdoing was based on the current available evidence and the cases could be re-examined at a later date.

“In each of these three incidents, the police officers tried to resolve the situation using nonlethal weapons such as Tasers and beanbag rounds,” Wolfson said. “However, the suspects refused to comply with the officers’ orders and instead took actions that put the officers’ lives in danger.”

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