LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The father of a 12-year-old boy killed in a Henderson shooting two years ago filed a federal lawsuit last week accusing police of fatally wounding his son in a standoff that left two others, including his wife, dead.
Eight Henderson police officers fired a combined 28 shots in the officer-involved shooting at the double-homicide scene near Stephanie Street and Wigwam Parkway on Nov. 3, 2020, leaving the suspect dead after officers said they saw him point a weapon at the young boy in a vehicle.
While Henderson police released some information and 911 calls in December 2020, now two years after the officer-involved shooting, officials have not complied with several records requests from the 8 News Now Investigators, citing an open investigation.
In a recent email from police to the 8 News Now Investigators, a spokesperson said, “This is still an open investigation.”
The Henderson Police Department has repeatedly told the 8 News Now Investigators that more information cannot be released pending a fact-finding review, but the inquiry, which is standard in police-involved fatal shootings, has not been scheduled.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said his office recently received a report on the shooting from Henderson police.
“Once I receive the report, I will make a conclusion whether or not there is criminal activity,” Wolfson said.
The lawsuit filed by Iehab Hawatmeh names several Henderson police employees individually, including Chief Andres Thedrick.
Dianne Reem Hawatmeh, 38, and Veronica Muniz, 33, died in the shooting at the apartment complex. Hawatmeh’s teenage daughter, Yasmeen Hawatmeh, was also shot.
Joseph Hawatmeh, 12, was taken from the apartment by the shooter, Jason Neo Bourne, 38, and then killed inside the car, police said.
Dianne Hawatmeh had made a complaint to the complex about noise from Bourne’s apartment before the shooting, the lawsuit said. Bourne then confronted Diane Hawatmeh and Yasmeen Hawatmeh as they returned home in the SUV.
“The confrontation between Bourne and Dianne and Yasmeen began as Dianne and Yasmeen were pulling into the complex in the Escalade but before they reached their parking space across from Building 13, when Bourne abruptly motioned for Dianne to stop the Escalade,” the lawsuit said. “Dianne immediately parked the Escalade and hurried along with Yasmeen up the stairs to the second floor of Building 13 of the complex, where the Hawatmeh apartment was located. As they climbed the stairs, Dianne and Yasmeen noticed Bourne running after them, causing Dianne and Yasmeen to run to the Hawatmeh Apartment in fear.”
Bourne was able to kick in the door, shooting Dianne Hawatmeh, Yasmeen Hawatmeh and Muniz, the lawsuit said.
“As dispatch was speaking with Bourne, officers at the scene were advised by bystanders that there was a black Cadillac Escalade in the parking lot that may belong to the suspect,” David Burns, field operations bureau deputy chief of police, said in December 2020.
“Officers located the vehicle parked in the parking lot a short distance from the initial crime scene officers were able to confirm that Bourne was sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and the young male was sitting in the front passenger seat. They asked him several times to put the driver’s side window down so they could communicate with him,” Burns said during the release of information in 2020.
Henderson police released the information in a video without holding a news conference with an opportunity for reporters to ask questions.
Bourne refused to comply with any request from officers on scene or dispatchers. Officers then observed a firearm in Bourne’s hand which appeared to be pointing at Joseph Hawatmeh. Officers continued to engage Bourne in an attempt to de-escalate the situation at which point shots were fired, resulting in an officer-involved shooting, police said.
One of the calls to 911 came from Bourne, apparently before he shot the 12-year-old boy. He demanded a helicopter and said things that suggested he was under delusions.
“Approximately 17 minutes into the Bourne 911 call, a single gunshot sounded and Joseph was heard screaming,” the lawsuit said, “A second later, two additional consecutive gunshots sounded, followed by numerous other gunshots that left Joseph mortally wounded from two shots to his head. Joseph was not heard again. The gunshots stopped after about five seconds, while [an officer] placed his rifle though the rear hatch where the glass had been shattered and whereupon Bourne yelled, ‘Yeah!’ Another gunshot sounded from [an officer’s] rifle shooting Bourne through the front driver seat. No further sounds were heard from either Bourne or Joseph.”
The lawsuit includes transcripts from other 911 calls and radio traffic, indicating police knew Joseph was in the vehicle. Several times, officers said “watch the kid,” noting Joseph was in the car and being held hostage in officers’ attempts to shoot Bourne, the transcripts in the lawsuit reveal.
“Approximately one minute after the first volley of gunshots, police personnel approached the Escalade yelling,” the lawsuit said. “An additional approximately seven gunshots sounded, whereupon the police personnel continued to yell. The yelling turned to communication between themselves as the police commenced removing Bourne and Joseph from the Vehicle. Both had been shot multiple times. During this time, Iehab desperately attempted to converse with anyone to determine whether his wife, son and daughter were safe.”
At one point in the transcript, an officer said, “Take the shot if you have it. Do not hit that [expletive] kid,” as a shot is fired, the lawsuit said.
“If the police defendants had assessed the current live situation as a hostage situation and acted consistent with reasonable police policy and procedure, the forced acceleration resulting in Joseph’s death reasonably could have and would have been averted,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims several federal laws were violated.
“It would be premature to discuss this lawsuit publicly at this time,” a city spokesperson said about the lawsuit.