Thursday, May 26, 2011 | 10:17 a.m.
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One of the three Metro officers who shot and killed Erik Scott at Costco last summer pleaded not guilty today to an unrelated charge — allegedly supplying a gun to a convicted felon.
Thomas Rosco Mendiola, 34, who was indicted by a grand jury earlier this month on a charge of disposing a firearm to a prohibited person, appeared at his arraignment today before Judge Douglas Herndon.
Herndon set Mendiola's trial for 10 a.m. Dec. 5. Chief Deputy District Attorney Sandra DiGiacomo said she expected the trial to last two days.
Mendiola, who is out of custody on his own recognizance, was relieved of duty without pay in January pending the outcome of an investigation after he allegedly gave a firearm to a convicted felon as a gift for working on his car.
Mendiola, William Mosher and Joshua Stark shot and killed Scott on July 10 last year outside Costco after authorities say Scott pointed a gun at police. 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, Mendiola gave a .22-caliber Ruger handgun 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.
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 the man had been in prison. He told police the gun “wasn’t even working, it was just beat up,” the complaint said.