DA: Authorities justified in shooting man who shot at them

Published: Oct. 25, 2017 at 5:28 PM PDT
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Authorities were justified shooting and killing Kyle Zimbelman Aug. 19, 2016, near the Stead Boulevard area of U.S. 395, Washoe County District Attorney Christopher Hicks announced Wednesday.

The district attorney’s office released a statement recounting the events that led up to the shooting of Zimbelman, 29. It included Zimbelman driving his vehicle at officers and also shooting at them.

It began when a Washoe County Sheriff’s Office deputy saw a U-Haul truck following another truck too closely on Interstate 80 near the Patrick Exit between Sparks and Fernley, the report said. Zimbelman drove the U-Haul and had a warrant out for his arrest and also had almost 2 pounds of methamphetamine, the report said.

Zimbelman refused to pull over and a 35-minute chase started that went through Reno and north on U.S. 395. He drove the U-Haul around spike strips laid out to flatten his tires four times. The chase continued, with Zimbelman driving the vehicles at sheriff’s deputies and Nevada Highway Patrol troopers, the report said.

At one point, a passenger with him jumped out and later told authorities Zimbelman feared a lengthy prison term and that Zimbelman wanted to commit suicide by cop.

Authorities finally got the U-Haul stopped and Zimbelman fired at them several times with a .40-caliber gun and they returned fire, killing him.

The statement concludes with this:

“The evidence showed that Zimbelman, undoubtedly motivated by the felony warrant against him and the significant quantity of drugs he possessed, repeatedly failed to stop the U-Haul. Instead, he ignored multiple commands to end his dangerous flight, only to hit one deputy and attempt to run over others, as well as his former passenger. He further posed an immediate and deadly threat to those deputies and troopers attempting to gain his surrender by picking up a gun and firing at them multiple times until his weapon was empty. Zimbleman’s actions that day left law enforcement with no choice but to use deadly force to protect their lives and those around them.”