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DA says two officers justified in Hathorne shooting

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Updated: 6/24/2013 3:50 pm
LAS VEGAS -- Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson released a final report today that shows the actions of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officers Russell Ellsworth and Brandon Oris “were reasonable and legally justified” in the shooting death of Daniel Hathorne.

On Nov. 1, Hathorne was locked out of his Cambridge Street apartment after failing to pay his rent. He subsequently broke his apartment window to gain re-entry. The next morning, when confronted by the apartment complex manager, Hathorne told her, according to the report, “If you come in again, I’m going to take you hostage. Today’s not the day. I’m going on a killing spree.”

The manager left and called police.

When police arrived, Hathorne fled on foot. As police pursued him, he took a 65-year-old woman hostage by grabbing her and putting a large kitchen knife to her throat. Hamilton saw this and drew his weapon, while ordering Hathorne to drop the knife. According to the report, Hathorne advanced toward Officer Hamilton, while dragging the victim. Hamilton continued to give commands to drop the knife.

Ellsworth and Oris were approximately 10 to 12 feet away. They also drew their weapons, and likewise ordered Hathorne to drop the knife. He repeatedly refused to obey verbal commands given by the officers and kept the knife against the left side of the victim’s neck. He then told officers to drop their weapons, and shifted to the right side of the victim.

Ellsworth fired two rounds and Oris fired five rounds at Hathorne, who was struck in the right side of his body. He fell to the ground and the victim ran away from him, unharmed.

“Hathorne attacked an innocent victim on the street, and made it clear to officers that he intended to seriously harm her. When he repeatedly refused to obey the officers’ commands to drop his weapon, the officers took the necessary action to protect the victim and themselves,” Wolfson said.

The determination that the officers acted lawfully is based upon the evidence available at this time. The case could be reexamined if new information comes to light.

-- From news release


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