Parents of 18-year-old shot and killed by Sparks PD file suit
UPDATE: The parents of an 18-year-old who was shot and killed by Sparks Police officers in January 2020 have filed a lawsuit against the City of Sparks claiming excessive force, negligence, and wrongful death among other accusations.
The shooting death of Miciah Lee was ruled justified in June 2020.
Investigators determined Lee attempted to grab a firearm during a struggle with officers near the intersection of North McCarran Boulevard and Rock Boulevard. Officers fired at Lee, striking him. Medical attention was requested, but Lee was pronounced dead at the scene.
The complaint filed in Federal District Court alleges in part:
Police officers employed by the City of Sparks were called to take a suicidal teenager they knew to be severely mentally ill into custody, for his own safety, but within minutes, of approaching him shot him dead. The Complaint further alleges City of Sparks officers had the time and opportunity to assess the situation and employ the tactics and accommodations recognized by nationally accepted police practices and training to peacefully resolve the situation, specifically by using de-escalation techniques, communication, and crisis intervention. The evidence will establish the officers were trained to act in precisely the manner they acted and, thus, were trained to do precisely the wrong thing.
The complaint also provides a timeline of events on January 5, 2020, leading up to Lee’s death, including Lee showing signs of suicide earlier in the day.
The complaint further calls the techniques used by the officers in the situation “foolish.”
Lee’s parents are seeking wrongful death damages and survival damages, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
UPDATE: The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has determined an officer-involved shooting in January 2020 was justified.
It happened on January 5 when officers with the Sparks Police Department responded to a call in the 1000 block of Rock Boulevard. The reporting party told officers her son, Miciah Lee, suffered from mental health issues and had threatened to commit “suicide by cop.”
Lee’s mother said he had driven away from the area and was armed with a gun. Officers tracked Lee down, but said he refused to pull over. Investigators said Lee rear-ended another vehicle at the intersection of 15th Street and Rock Boulevard. Officers attempted to block Lee’s vehicle and gave Lee verbal commands to exit the vehicle. Lee pushed a police vehicle and another vehicle out of the way by driving forward and in reverse. Lee then sped off.
Lee later crashed his vehicle near the intersection of North McCarran Boulevard and Rock Boulevard. Officers partially blocked Lee’s vehicle. A Sparks Police K9 was deployed to remove Lee from the vehicle. As officers were attempting to remove Lee from the vehicle, a struggle ensued, and Lee attempted to grab a firearm. Officers fired at Lee, striking him. Medical attention was requested, but Lee was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a statement about the case, DA Chris Hicks said:
“Mr. Lee’s death was a tragic end to a young man’s life and this community should be saddened by it. As District Attorney, my ethical and professional responsibility is to justly uphold the law and apply it equally and objectively in all situations. I have always abided by that responsibility, when the world is looking and when it is not. My decision in this case is based on the law in Nevada and upon a thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident and the actions of the officers involved in the shooting.”
The incident was captured on the responding officers’ body worn cameras and can be viewed here. WARNING: the footage may be disturbing to some. The video includes profanity and video of the actual shooting.
UPDATE: The Washoe County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the man who was shot and killed by police near the intersection of N. McCarran Boulevard and Rock Boulevard Sunday night.
His name is Miciah Lee,18, and his city of residence is unknown at this time.
ORIGINAL STORY: Reno Police say an officer involved shooting involving Sparks Police Officers began with reports of a suicidal person armed with a gun.
The name of the person has not been released, but the Washoe County Medical Examiner confirms it was a man.
Just before 6 PM Sunday, January 5, 2020, Sparks officers responded to reports of a suicidal subject armed with a gun.
When officers arrived on scene at the 1000 block of Rock Boulevard, the man had left the scene. The officers located the vehicle and pursued the driver until he crashed his car near Rock Boulevard and North McCarran Boulevard.
Investigators say the driver was uncooperative. When the man reached for a gun, the Sparks officers opened fire. The man was declared dead on the scene.
The incident remains under investigation. Three Sparks officers are now on administrative leave.