A prosecutor in northwestern Nevada has determined that a fatal 2021 shooting of a suspect who fled authorities and crashed into two unmarked police vehicles was justified.
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks announced his decision Friday after reviewing an investigation by Washoe County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
Officers said they were trying to arrest 41-year-old Richard Thomas of Reno on a firearms warrant, but he ignored commands to stop his vehicle. He sped away while dragging a detective along the roadway, authorities said.
Authorities were responding to a tip that Thomas had missed a court hearing and planned to flee, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
Undercover detectives with a regional team that focuses on repeat felons tracked down Thomas and followed him to a gas station along U.S. Highway 395.
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A detailed report released by the district attorney’s office includes gas station surveillance images of Thomas’ pickup truck boxed in by detectives’ unmarked vehicles. Officers had Thomas at gunpoint and were telling him to show his hands but he put his truck in drive, briefly trapping one detective inside the driver’s door.
Another detective was hanging onto the truck partway inside the passenger door as the truck left the gas station and headed toward the interstate. After warning Thomas that he would be shot if he did not stop the vehicle, the detective fired his gun numerous times from inside the cab before falling from the truck while it was still moving.
An autopsy showed Thomas had eight gunshot wounds, with two of them believed to have come from a single bullet. Toxicology reports also showed amphetamine and methamphetamine in his blood.
Reno’s most recent officer-involved shooting was a Jan. 8 a shootout that left a Reno sergeant seriously wounded, one suspect dead and another wounded.