January 9, 2013 - 9:36 pm
Family members at the center of a controversial shooting in which a dog was killed by a Las Vegas police sergeant Sunday aren’t strangers to officers in the downtown area.
According to police, officers have visited or been dispatched to the home 25 times since 2008, mostly on reported domestic disputes.
Only once has a person at the home been arrested, in August 2011, and of the 25 police visits, three resulted in citations.
But a resident at the home, 23-year-old Victor Patino, whose 6-year-old bully pit bull, Bubba, was killed, said Wednesday the family’s history with police has no relevance in what occurred unless police targeted his family because of its past.
“There are plenty of people who had interactions with police, both positive and negative,” Patino said. “It doesn’t change the fact police came into my backyard without permission and executed my dog.”
Since 2008, officers have been to the home at 147 S. 16th St., near Carson Avenue, for several reasons. Police were there to investigate a runaway, fraud and a wanted person. They responded to calls to assist a citizen and for unknown trouble.
Of the several domestic disputes requiring police intervention, one was an allegation of violence.
Of the arrest and three citations, police did not name who was involved. Two of the citations were for fraud and a domestic dispute. The reason for a third citation was unclear. The arrest in 2011 was for a “wanted suspect,” police said.
County records show the home has been owned by Patino’s parents, Roque and Carmen Ortiz, since 2003.
Patino chalked up the family’s history with police to the fact four men live there, saying they have a lot of “testosterone.” Police on Monday identified the officer in the shooting as 42-year-old Sgt. William Wilson.
Police said Wilson was investigating a disturbance call in the 200 block of Earl Street at 1:49 p.m. when he heard a shot fired in the backyard of an adjacent residence on the 100 block of South 16th Street. Wilson also heard yelling or moaning after the gunshot, police said.
The investigation led to the backyard of Patino’s home, where a pit bull-type dog charged Wilson, police said. He fired one round and killed the dog.
Police in the backyard found a shell casing that was a different caliber than the one fired by Wilson. No one was arrested or cited in connection to the gunshot investigation, police said.
On Wednesday, Patino recalled the trauma of finding officers in his backyard while his dog lay dead on the pavement.
Patino’s home is one story. A long driveway leads to a metal fence that opens to a large backyard. A “Beware of dog” sign hung on the fence Sunday before the shooting, Patino said.
A casita, a trampoline, a basketball hoop, a children’s swing set and a punching bag are in the backyard.
Patino said on the afternoon his dog was shot, he was awakened by his mother inside his home after Wilson’s gunshot. He went outside with his mother and saw five or six police officers.
His 19-year-old brother was visibly upset and screaming because Bubba had been shot in the head. Patino’s two brothers, ages 19 and 20, and their friend, were handcuffed and frisked. Patino said that at one point his 19-year-old brother was sitting on some bricks around a tree when an officer pushed him to the pavement.
He said the officer’s actions were definitely “unnecessary” considering the circumstances. His younger brother, who Patino said was pushed down by the officer, was the closest to Bubba.
Police spokeswoman Laura Meltzer, reached late Wednesday night, said there was no way to immediately check into Patino’s allegation.
Patino, who ended four years of service with Nevada’s U.S. Army Reserves in March, said he reasoned with police. He asked them why they were in his yard and who let them in. He said they thanked him afterward for calming his brothers.
Patino said when he saw Bubba’s body and asked an officer what had happened, police said the dog was tranquilized.
Patino’s two youngest brothers, ages 4 and 9, remained in the home during the chaotic scene in the backyard.
Patino said after police admitted shooting the dog, they didn’t question his family about the found shell casing. He also said they didn’t question neighbors.
Patino said unequivocally that nobody fired a weapon on his property before police arrived Sunday afternoon.
The men who were handcuffed did not see Wilson shoot Bubba, Patino said.
Police spokesman Bill Cassell said Wednesday he didn’t know whether Wilson knew the family’s history with the department before entering Patino’s backyard. He also didn’t know whether Wilson had ever been to Patino’s home.
Wilson was hired by the department in March 1997. He remains on duty. An internal investigation will determine whether he is disciplined, commended or has no action taken against him.
Patino said his family is seeking legal advice. They also plan to file a complaint with the department against Wilson.