For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
December 7, 2016
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has released a public report detailing his findings on the March 10, 2016 officer involved shooting (OIS) of Arteair Porter. Consistent with his administration’s philosophy of transparency of his review of these types of cases, DA Hicks has directed that the 43 page report be made available to the public. A copy of the report can be accessed on the Office’s website at https://www.washoecounty.us/da/newsroom/reports.php.
According to the report released today, on March 10, 2016 at 8:13 p.m. Arteair Ray Porter, 22 (DOB 12/9/93) called 911. Porter stated that he was outdoors near the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Lemmon Valley and was armed with a loaded rifle. He claimed he was upset over the death of his 6 month old daughter and that the idea of shooting someone was on his mind. It was later discovered that Porter did not have a daughter. Due to the obvious public safety concerns, law enforcement quickly began to respond to the area. Minutes later, a more agitated Porter called 911 again. He claimed he had a loaded 12 gauge shotgun and was going to shoot the next car that drove by. He further stated that if the police came, he was going to shoot them as well.
RPD officers, WCSO deputies, and nearby officers from the Regional Gang Unit all responded to the emergency situation and established a perimeter to secure the area and to find Porter. The nearby Amazon Fulfillment Center, that had employees on duty, was placed on lockdown. The WCSO RAVEN helicopter was launched for assistance from the air. NHP began to close nearby portions of U.S. Route 395 at Lemmon Drive.
Soon thereafter, Porter was located on Lemmon Drive in possession of a long gun consistent with a rifle or a shotgun. A standoff ensued and for the next 19 minutes, law enforcement negotiated with Porter in the hopes of a safe resolution for all parties. Throughout that 19 minute period, Porter held the gun in his right hand with his finger on the trigger. He was agitated and animated as he swung the gun to his right and left, often pointing it in the direction of nearby law enforcement. Porter was asked to drop the gun multiple times and was offered help with his problems. He refused and repeatedly told the officers to shoot him and that he wanted to die. Porter eventually squared his body towards the nearest armed officers and held the gun with both hands in a shooter’s position. He then began lifting the barrel towards the officers. At that time, fearing for their safety and the safety of their fellow officers, multiple law enforcement members fired at Porter. He was shot and later died of his wounds. After the shooting when the scene was secured, it was discovered that Porter had been holding a BB gun rifle.
In response to the shooting, the regionally-adopted Officer Involved Shooting Protocol was initiated. SPD led the investigation, with the WCSO and RPD providing secondary investigative support. The Washoe County Crime Laboratory provided forensic services. The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office was notified and was present for scene review, witness interviews, autopsy, and evidence review.
In November, the results of the entire investigation were submitted to the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office for review. No criminal charges were recommended by Sparks Police. The District Attorney’s evaluation included reviewing over 1100 pages of reports and documents, as well as interviews of police and civilian witnesses. It further included the review of hundreds of photographs, diagrams, video and audio recordings, and examination of the scene of the shooting.
In his report, DA Hicks concludes that the investigation strongly suggests that Porter wished to commit suicide at the hands of law enforcement. This is evidenced by multiple facts; Porter’s threatening calls to 911, his representations that his BB gun rifle was a shotgun, his knowledge of officers with weapons drawn and his refusal to drop his gun, his repeated requests for law enforcement to shoot him, and his ultimate decision to raise and aim his gun at nearby officers who were aiming their guns at him. Consistent with witness accounts, videos of the ordeal show law enforcements’ efforts to help Porter and the notable restraint exhibited in not firing their guns until absolutely necessary. However, when Porter turned toward the armed officers that were positioned approximately 15 yards away and began to raise his gun, the 7 officers who fired their weapons were confronted by an imminent danger which supported an honest belief and fear that they, or their fellow officers, were about to be killed or suffer great bodily injury. It was absolutely necessary under the circumstances for them to use force that might cause the death of Porter in order to avoid death or great bodily injury to themselves or others.
As such, after reviewing the applicable law and the case submitted in this matter for review, District Attorney Hicks has found that the March 10, 2016 shooting death of Arteair Porter was done so in justified self-defense and defense of others.