For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
January 15, 2021
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has determined that the February 5, 2020 Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) of Daniel Markley Murillo from Reno by Reno Police Department (RPD) Patrol Officer Javen Lindsay was justified under Nevada law.
Murillo was a multi-convicted felon and escapee from the Nevada Department of Corrections. He had served less than one year of a five year sentence in prison before being transferred to a transitional housing program, and had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system, when he was encountered by police who were responding to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon at a densely populated Northeast Reno apartment complex. Just prior to the shooting, several victims reported that Murillo had threatened them with what they believed to be a knife (this was later determined to be a screwdriver). The shooting occurred after Officer Lindsay and Officer Nicholas Triplett confronted Murillo. Murillo failed to follow multiple commands to stop and drop the apparent knife he was holding before charging at the officers. Officer Lindsay responded by firing four rounds at Murillo, who was struck and died as a result.
Consistent with this office’s ongoing public reporting on all OIS cases, District Attorney Hicks has released a detailed 27-page report containing the facts of the case, photographs, identification of those involved, witness accounts, and his legal analysis supporting the case’s conclusion. This determination is based on an extensive review of the investigation conducted by the Sparks Police Department, which was submitted to this office on June 16, 2020. Unless new circumstances come to light that contradict the factual foundation upon which this decision was made, this case is officially closed. Copies of all completed OIS reports are available on the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office’s website at https://www.washoecounty.us/da/newsroom/reports.php Inquiries regarding the release of any public records involving the investigation and its evidence can be directed to the involved law enforcement agencies.
Introduction of the Report:
On February 5, 2020 Reno Police Department (hereinafter “RPD”) Officer Javen Lindsay (hereinafter “Officer Lindsay”) and his trainee Officer Nicholas Triplett (hereinafter “Officer Triplett”) were in their vehicle near the area of Sutro Street and Wedekind Road when at about 8:02 p.m. dispatch advised there was a report of an assault with a deadly weapon. According to the report, the subject, later identified as Daniel Murillo (hereinafter “Murillo”), was in the parking lot of the Northern Nevada Literacy Center at 2100 Centennial Way chasing people with a knife. As Officers Lindsay and Triplett were responding, additional details were broadcast that the subject was a white male, about 45-50 years of age, 5’6” wearing a black hoodie and black pants. The knife was described as a possible pocketknife or kitchen knife with a medium blade.
Officers Triplett and Lindsay arrived on scene at approximately 8:03 pm and contacted the reporting party, Rachel Moreno (hereinafter “Ms. Moreno”). She confirmed the description of the suspect and pointed to officers that she had last seen the subject traveling northbound through the El Chaparral Apartments immediately behind their location. Officer Triplett drove into the south west parking lot of the El Chaparral complex and he and Officer Lindsay exited the vehicle.
At approximately 8:04 pm Officers Lindsay and Triplett observed Murillo in a grassy area of the apartment complex. Murillo was ripping fence boards off a bordering 6-foot wooden fence, appearing to officers that he was trying to escape. Both officers yelled at Murillo to stop and get on the ground. Officer Lindsay broadcast that they had one at gunpoint.
Murillo stopped tearing down the boards and turned toward officers Lindsay and Triplett, who were approximately twenty (20) feet away. As Murillo turned, Officer Triplett saw Murillo put his hand inside the pocket of his hoodie and come out with an object he believed to be a knife. Officer Lindsay saw the flash of a silver metallic object in Murillo’s hand, and also believed Murillo to be armed with a knife. Murillo bent over slightly at the waist as if he was going to tackle someone. Officer Triplett yelled for Murillo “put it down,” and Officer Lindsay commanded Murillo to “get on the ground.” However, Murillo moved aggressively towards Officer Lindsay and said, “Come On. You guys said you wanted this!” When Murillo reached approximately twelve to fifteen feet from Officer Lindsay, Officer Lindsay, fearing for his life and that of his partner, fired four rounds at Murillo. Murillo stopped his advance, fell to the ground and dropped the silver metallic object in his hand (this object was later determined to be a screwdriver). Immediately after firing his weapon, Officer Lindsay broadcast “Shots fired.” Additional RPD officers arrived and Murillo was provided medical response and taken to Renown Hospital. He did not survive his injuries.
The subsequent investigation determined Murillo was a multi-convicted felon who had methamphetamine and marijuana in his system. Additionally, he was an escapee from the Nevada Department of Corrections who had been sentenced in June 2019 to 5 years in prison, with parole eligibility after 2 years were served. Shortly after sentencing, he had been transferred from prison to a transitional housing unit for inmates in Reno. On January 31, 2020, Murillo failed to return to the housing unit and a warrant issued for his arrest.
Consistent with the regionally-adopted Officer Involved Shooting (hereinafter “OIS”) Protocol, the Sparks Police Department (hereinafter “SPD”) led the investigation into the shooting of Murillo. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (hereinafter “WCSO”) provided secondary investigative support, and the Washoe County Crime Laboratory (hereinafter “WCCL”) provided forensic services. The investigation included witness interviews, collection of physical evidence, photography of the shooting scene and other evidence, forensic evidence testing, review of body camera footage and other video evidence, and an interview of Officers Lindsay and Triplett.
On June 16, 2020, all investigation reports along with WCCL forensic reports, photographs, body camera footage, recorded interviews, and other investigation materials were submitted to the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office for a determination of whether the shooting of Daniel Murillo was legally justified. The investigators did not recommend criminal charges against Officer Lindsay. The District Attorney’s evaluation included reviewing approximately 600 pages of reports and documents, which included interviews of police and civilian witnesses, photographs, diagrams, body camera footage and video surveillance. This report follows.
Based on the available evidence and the applicable legal authorities, it is the opinion of the District Attorney that the shooting of Daniel Murillo by RPD Officer Javen Lindsay was justified and not a criminal act.