LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Attorneys for the parents of Jorge Gomez showed video at a Friday news conference that they contend contradicts Las Vegas police accounts of Gomez’s death on June 1 during Black Lives Matter protests.
Speakers at Friday’s event called for the arrest of the officers involved in the shooting, and called on Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson to act.
Attorney Rodolfo Gonzalez tracked Gomez’s movements as newly released video played on a monitor, making the point that Gomez was not holding a weapon when he was shot.
Some accounts from officers said Gomez had raised a rifle toward them before they shot him 19 times near the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Metro Officers Ryan Fryman, Dan Emerton, Vernon Ferguson and Andrew Locher were involved in the shooting. They are named in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by lawyers for Gomez’s parents.
Gonzalez also released the name of an officer who had shot Gomez with bean-bag rounds at the courthouse just before Gomez was killed.
Officer John Squeo fired the “less than lethal” rounds as Gomez walked near the courthouse as officers dispersed protesters. Lawyers and speakers characterized Squeo’s actions as “setting in motion” the events that led to the fatal shooting.
Attorneys also provided a copy of the amended federal civil right lawsuit they have filed on behalf of Gomez’s parents, Jeanne Llera and Jorge L. Gomez. The updated lawsuit names Squeo, alleging he fired the bean-bag rounds without warning, causing “severe pain and suffering.”
Gomez, who was 25 when he was killed, would have turned 26 today. Speakers paused during the news conference to observe a moment of silence timed to the moment of his birth.
Gomez was killed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers as he openly carried a weapon and wore body armor as Black Lives Matter protests occurred in Las Vegas.
Gonzalez emphasized that Gomez was exercising his Constitutional rights at the time of the shooting.
Gomez ran after the bean-bag rounds were fired, and his path was tracked by Gonzalez as the video’s played at Friday’s news conference.
At one point, Gomez falls. Gonzalez stressed that he didn’t have anything in his hand when he got up, which contradicts officers’ accounts.
The precise moment of the shooting was not shown, but Gonzalez says lawyers have the video and they are working with video experts before it will be released.
Metro released the following statement after the news conference:
The surveillance video released today by the Gomez family appears to be the same video that the LVMPD gave to the family’s counsel. The video was originally obtained by the LVMPD and is one piece of evidence that is being evaluated in the ongoing investigation. The LVMPD asks that anyone who may have video of the event please contact the LVMPD.Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
Among the speakers during Friday’s news conference, which lasted about 90 minutes, was Petra Wilson. She told the story of her husband, Rex Wilson, who died in a 2016 shooting. Squeo was named as one of the officers involved in that shooting.
Jazmin Gomez, Jorge’s sister, spoke at the news conference in memory of her brother.
“Today’s my brother’s 26th birthday, but instead of celebrating, we are mourning. We should be eating cake. Instead, none of are probably going to be able to eat tonight. We’ll be too busy thinking about the videos released today … about how many pedestrians have walked past the spot where my brother died and didn’t even know … of how quickly the city cleaned up the blood off the sidewalk, but it took us eight months for us to get the videos.”
Leading up to the news conference, lawyers from the Gonzalez & Flores Law Firm said the new evidence “shows that the use of deadly force against Mr. Gomez was excessive and unreasonable.” The Las Vegas law firm is representing Gomez’s mother, Jeanne Llera, and father, Jorge L. Gomez, along with Claggett & Sykes Law Firm of Las Vegas and the Los Angeles-based Law Offices of Dale K. Galipo.