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October 25, 2014

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Cop cleared in shooting of man mistaken for slaying suspect

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L.E. Baskow

Antoine Hodges, shot by a Metro Police officer while getting gas at a convenience store Oct. 21, talks about filing a federal lawsuit against the department during a news conference at his attorney’s office Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

Antoine Hodges Files Lawsuit Against Metro Police

Antoine Hodges, shot by a Metro Police officer while getting gas at a convenience store Oct. 21, talks about filing a federal lawsuit against the department during a news conference at his attorney's office Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Launch slideshow »

A Metro Police officer was justified in shooting an unarmed man who resembled a suspect in a double-homicide and failed to follow the officer’s orders to show his hands, according to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office.

Patrol Officer Jason Evans shot Antoine Hodges in the abdomen after spotting him at a 7-Eleven convenience store on Oct. 21, the night after a double slaying less than two miles away, according to the district attorney’s review of the case.

“Mr. Hodges backed away from the officer, ignored his commands and reached behind his back,” District Attorney Steve Wolfson said. “Fearing for his life and the safety of others in the 7-Eleven, the officer fired a single shot.”

Hodges was taken to University Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. He survived his injury and faced no charges.

According to the report released today, Evans was driving by the 7-Eleven at Nellis Boulevard and Stewart Avenue and pulled into the parking lot when he saw Hodges go into the store.

As Hodges was about to leave, Evans drew his weapon and approached the doors, the report said. Hodges retreated into the store. After Evans repeatedly ordered Hodges to show his hands, Hodges reached behind his back with his right hand, the report said.

The officer fired a single round, which hit Hodges and lodged in a candy display case behind him.

According to the report, Hodges told Metro Officer Krista Bullard, who rode with Hodges in the ambulance, that he was in the store paying for gas when Evans walked in with his gun drawn.

Hodges said he raised his hands and asked what was going on. He said he was holding a cellphone in his right hand and that as he reached to put it in his back pocket, he was shot in the chest, the report said.

According to the District Attorney’s Office, Hodges, who was in possession of two bags of marijuana, heard the officer’s commands but failed to comply because “he hadn’t done anything wrong.”

“Hodges acknowledged, based upon his actions and non-compliance, why the officer believed he could have had a weapon,” according to a statement released with the report.

“The determination that the officer acted lawfully in this situation is based upon the evidence available at this time. The case could be re-examined if new information comes to light,” the statement said.

Hodges and his wife, meanwhile, filed a civil rights lawsuit in Nevada’s U.S. District Court against Metro, Sheriff Doug Gillespie and Evans.

The lawsuit alleges the department violated Hodges’ constitutional rights protecting him from unreasonable seizure and use of unlawful deadly force. It also accuses the defendants of acting negligently, committing assault and battery, and falsely arresting and imprisoning him, according to the complaint.

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