Woman sues Las Vegas police over 2017 fatal shooting

Business USA Vegas News

A Las Vegas woman is suing the Metropolitan Police Department after she and her husband were shot by an officer in front of her then-10-year-old daughter.

Shondell Pitts claims Metro officers were negligent, used excessive force and inflicted emotional distress on Shondell Pitts and her daughter during the November 2017 shooting at a gas station in the south valley.

Officers responding to a domestic violence call at the convenience store found her 41-year-old husband, Phillip Pitts, threatening the woman and child with a handgun, police said after the shooting.

According to the complaint, which was filed Monday in federal court, the first officer to arrive at the scene tried to reason with Phillip Pitts but did not fire his weapon because the couple were standing in front of propane tanks.

The next arriving officer, David Nesheiwat, ordered Phillip Pitts to drop the gun once before firing four shots at him.

Phillip Pitts was struck three times, according to the lawsuit. Police said at the time that one round went through him and struck Shondell Pitts in the stomach. Both were taken to University Medical Center, where Phillip Pitts died.

The lawsuit claims Nesheiwat’s actions violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by subjecting the woman to “unreasonable seizure of her person.”

It also alleges that their daughter, who is not named in the complaint because she’s a minor, has suffered severe physical, emotional and mental trauma after the shooting.

Metro did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The gas station, Fuel Zone Mart at 780 E. Pyle Ave., is also named as a defendant in the case. According to the complaint, a clerk at the store locked Shondell Pitts and her daughter inside to protect them from Phillip Pitts, who was intoxicated and trying to attack his wife.

However, the clerk unlocked the door and Phillip Pitts forced the pair to leave the store, leading up to the fatal shooting, the suit states.

Shondell Pitts is seeking upward of $75,000 in damages on her daughter’s behalf.

Contact Max Michor at mmichor@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0365. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.

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