GARDNERVILLE, NV - David Pendleton was so well-known for making threats to deputies, he was actually flagged in the Douglas County Sheriff's Office's computer system. Unfortunately, the deputy who responded to the dispatch calls on Wednesday didn't know who he was dealing with - or that one of those two calls came from Pendleton himself.
"We're still conducting two investigations, but it is looking like Mr. Pendleton did go to the cemetery that day with a very fatalistic frame of mind. I don't want to label it a suicide by cop at this time, but we're certainly looking into that," says Paul Howell, Undersheriff of the Douglas County Sherrif's Office.
David Pendleton had been known to deputies in the area for years. Long before Wednesday afternoon, when two calls came in from the cemetery - that there was a dead body or a man on the ground.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says when Deputy Rick Koontz, Jr. showed up at the cemetery around 2pm to respond to the calls, he found Pendleton sitting there with a gun. When Dep. Koontz asked Pendleton to drop his shotgun, which was loaded, Pendleton pointed the gun at the deputy. That's when Deputy Koontz fired several shots, striking Pendleton and killing him before paramedics could arrive.
Pendleton, 77, was a longtime Gardnerville resident. He also had a history of making threats.
"Mr. Pendleton has several reports on file with us where we documented threats he's made to shoot law enforcement officers. I believe six times in the last four years."
Sheriff's Office records show that Pendleton's son reported that his father was bi-polar and that he drank a lot and had many weapons at his house. Pendleton was actually just bailed out of jail this week, accused of assaulting a citizen with a deadly weapon.
The Douglas County District Attorney's Office continues to investigate this case, as well as the Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. In the meantime, Deputy Rick Koontz, Jr. has been placed on routine administrative leave. He is a six-year-veteran of the Sheriff's Office.