Sheriff seeks OK for $1.5 million settlement with widow of slain Gulf War veteran


Leila Navidi

Rondha Gibson, the widow of Stanley Gibson, listens during the first Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review concerning the Dec. 12, 2011 shooting of Stanley Gibson by a Metro Police officer at the Clark County Government Center in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.

Tue, Oct 8, 2013 (6:54 p.m.)

Metro Police are offering a $1.5 million settlement to the wife of Stanley Gibson, the Gulf War veteran fatally shot by an officer in December 2011.

Sheriff Doug Gillespie sent an email this afternoon to members of Metro's Fiscal Affairs Committee asking them to support his recommendation for the settlement with Rondha Gibson.

“We have a tentative agreement with the family pending your approval,” Gillespie wrote.

The next meeting of the Fiscal Affairs Committee, a joint city-county group that oversees Metro’s budget, is Oct. 28. An agenda has not yet been released. Calls to Rondha Gibson’s lawyers were not immediately returned.

Rondha Gibson filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s U.S. District Court in December 2012, almost a year after her husband was shot and killed. The lawsuit accuses Las Vegas police of civil rights violations leading to the wrongful death of Stanley Gibson.

The lawsuit names Metro, Gillespie, Lt. David Dockendorf, Sgt. Michael Hnatuick, Officer Jesus Arevalo and Officer Malik Grego-Smith as defendants.

The deadly officer-involved shooting happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 12, 2011, at the Alondra Condominiums, 2451 N. Rainbow Blvd, after reports of an attempted burglary.

When the suspect vehicle described to police — a white Cadillac — showed back up at the complex, officers blocked it in and realized it belonged to Gibson.

Police said Gibson refused commands to get out of his vehicle and rammed a patrol car, periodically revving his car’s engine and spinning its tires.

Authorities on scene devised a plan to fire a bean-bag round into Gibson’s vehicle, but when the bean-bag round hit the vehicle window, Arevalo mistakenly thought he was being shot at and returned fire. He fired seven shots from his .223-caliber rifle into the Cadillac, killing Gibson, who his wife said suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.

At a Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Review early this year, police acknowledged a hasty plan change and inadequate communication contributed to the fatal shooting.

A Clark County grand jury declined to indict Arevalo on criminal charges, but his future at Metro remains uncertain.

Arevalo has gone before the department’s Use of Force Review Board — which is made up of civilians and department members — and had his internal pretermination board hearing, Gillespie said Monday during a meeting with the Sun’s editorial board.

Gillespie, who ultimately will make the final call about Arevalo’s employment, said he was waiting on the pretermination board’s decision. He will have period of time to review those decisions before rendering his own.

Stanley Gibson’s mother, Celestine Gibson, also filed a federal lawsuit in May 2012 against the department, Arevalo, Hnatuick and Dockendorf alleging civil rights violations.

Attorney Andre Lagomarsino, who represents Celestine Gibson, said there had been no settlement reached in his client’s case.

“They have offered some money,” Lagomarsino said, referring to Metro. “Our client hasn’t accepted it.”

Lagomarsino said he expected the civil case to head to trial in late 2014 or early 2015.

Less than two years ago, Metro’s Fiscal Affairs Committee approved a $1.7 million settlement to the family of Trevon Cole, an unarmed 21-year-old shot by police in June 2010 in his apartment bathroom.

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