D.A. finds officer involved shooting justified, victim's family not notified

Reno-Sparks, NV (KRNV & - Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick released a final report on June 17, 2014 regarding an officer involved shooting that took the life of Kenneth Stafford on July 11, 2013. Stafford's family was never notified by authorities that the final report had been released.

"I want to know why I wasn't notified. No offense, but why did I have to hear it from you?" asked Aimee Stafford, the wife of Kenneth Stafford who was shot and killed by Reno and Sparks police officers on July 11, 2013.

Washoe County investigators took the lead in the case and admit they were responsible for notifying the family that the final report had been released, but that they failed to do so.

"This family had a right to know about the results of this report coming back and it was our job to tell it to them. Quite frankly we didn't do that and I'll take this opportunity on behalf of the agency and I was just in talking to Sheriff Haley and he asked me to extend his apologies to the family," says Bob Harmon, a spokesperson for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office.

Nearly one year after the shooting, on June 17, 2014 the District Attorney released his decision in the case saying it was a justified shooting. News 4 obtained the full investigation report and the 911 call made by Aimee on July 11, 2013.

According to reports, Kenneth Stafford, an active military member on leave, left the home he was visiting in Sparks with a shotgun. 11 minutes after police made contact with the 27 year old Army soldier, officers say negotiations weren't successful.

In the final report Washoe County District Attorney, Richard Gammick determined the shooting to be justified under all applicable laws.

Stafford's wife, Aimee doesn't accept that decision, "I don't see anything about that situation that was justifiable, um he was shot 15, 14 or 15 times. There's no need for that ad the places he was shot, there's no need for that."

The autopsy report reveals 14 bullets hit Stafford, in his forehead, neck, chest, abdomen, ankle, knee and thigh.

Gammick says, "The officers have to make a call. Unless you've warn the badge, unless you've been out there and confronted people with weapons, you don't understand that those decisions are made in split seconds, it's not something you can 20/20 hindsight and spend the next four months analyzing."

Prior to officers opening fire, reports indicate that police requested a less lethal device, "Officers requested a 40mm launcher, which would have had a mid-range potential solution," says Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen.

That device was never used and officers say Stafford escalated his behavior "to the point of quickly turning towards the officers in the backyard in a manner such as to point the shotgun at them."

Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen says the audio and video captured that day illustrates that all five shooting officers reacted simultaneously firing 22 shots, 14 of them hitting Stafford.

"The fact that all the officers on scene perceived the same thing at the same moment really they all took independent and justifiable actions against Mr. Stafford. The fact that there are 22 rounds, if you take the number of officers involved it's a relatively low number of rounds per officer," says Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen.

"I just wanted them to help him. He was lost he, the PTSD had taken over and he couldn't get out. I just wanted him to get some help," says Aimee Stafford.

As she mourned the loss of her husband, Aimee was shocked to find out a number of the officers involved in the shooting were awarded medals for their actions that day.

"I just don't feel like what they did to him deserves that. He tried for a long time to keep his mask on and he just couldn't do it anymore. And I just need everyone to remember that he wasn't just some crazy guy with a gun, ya know, he wasn't a drugee or a criminal, he was a soldier," says Aimee Stafford.

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