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Police: Suspect tried to shoot officer

Nevada Appeal

November 16, 2007



Bail was increased Thursday for a community college student who allegedly wrestled a gun away from a state officer and tried to shoot him twice.



William Nattrass, 21, will remain in custody unless he posts the $100,000 bail set by Justice of the Peace Robey Willis during Nattrass' arraignment Thursday morning.



"I understand he tried to shoot the gun and it didn't go off," Willis said. Nattrass' original bail was $75,000.



Nattrass is charged with felony attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, gross misdemeanor battery on a peace officer and misdemeanor possession of marijuana paraphernalia.



According to the arrest report, Nattrass, his 17-year-old brother and Vivian Donna Leman, 28, of Carson City, were having a dispute outside the State Records Repository on West Nye Lane at about 5:35 p.m.



Carson City deputies were on their way to the area for the fight when an employee of the probation office told co-worker and veteran Department of Public Safety Capt. P.K. O'Neill, that there was a fight outside.



O'Neill, who is chief of records and technology, said when he went outside, he saw one of the men pushing Leman, and he identified himself as a police officer and told the three to stop fighting and leave the property.



"William reached into his waistband as if attempting to retrieve a handgun. P.K. drew his duty handgun, pointed it at the suspects and began to move away from them," wrote Carson Deputy C. Erven. "The suspects began closing ground on him so he re-holstered his duty weapon."



O'Neill told deputies the three then attacked him, with Leman punching him in the face, the juvenile kicking him and Nattrass also punching him. During the melee, Nattrass allegedly got hold of O'Neill's loaded weapon and yelled, "I am going to kill you."



O'Neill said that as he continued to struggle with the other two, he heard Nattrass pull back the slide on the handgun.



O'Neill said he tried to keep Leman and the juvenile between himself and Nattrass, but Nattrass allegedly reached around the other two and placed the barrel of the gun against O'Neill's head. When the weapon did not fire, Nattrass allegedly stepped to the left and racked the slide on the handgun again, said O'Neill, the report states.



It was later determined that the gun's safety was on. Two unspent bullets, ejected when the weapon did not fire, were found at the scene.



About this time, the group heard sirens and they ran west, according to the report.



For some reason Leman turned around and ran back toward the building where she was grabbed by a deputy. Another officer captured the juvenile in the field next to the office building and Nattrass was found hiding in the Meek's Lumber parking lot a short time later. The captain's handgun was found on top of a shed nearby.



"There were two things that happened here, the Sheriff's Department had already received a call about these individuals and P.K. has 35 years of law enforcement experience and survival skills. He was literally beaten by a couple of these individuals while another one tried to kill him and he's survived it, and he's at work today like nothing ever happened," said Phillip Galeoto, director of the Nevada Department of Public Safety. "We're very proud of him."



During Nattrass' arraignment Thursday morning, the 6-foot 4-inch, wiry young man stood quietly at the podium, his hands shackled to a chain around his waist. He spoke only when asked how to pronounce his last name, which sounds like mattress, and when Willis asked him how he could be enrolled at the college here if he's only been in town for two weeks.



"I'm taking the GED course," Nattrass said.



His 17-year-old brother is being held at juvenile detention on suspicion of accessory to attempted murder, battery on police officer and minor consuming.



Leman was also arraigned Thursday morning where Willis told her she was being held on a charge of accessory to attempted murder with a bail of $75,000.



"Can I say something?" she asked.



When Willis gave her permission to speak, Leman began, "I was extremely intoxicated last night ..." but Public Defender Karen Kreizenbeck who was in the audience, jumped up and told Willis she would take Leman's case. Kreizenbeck then advised Leman to remain silent.



Willis set a preliminary hearing for Tuesday for both Leman and Nattrass.
 

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Attempted murder is a definite

He took the officer's gun, siad he was going to kill him AND attempted twice. This guy needs to go away for a very long time!!!! In this case the safety saved the officer but I wonder how it woudl have bee had he been carrying an M&P or a Glock with no external safeties?



The next question is, why didn't the officer shot when he had the bead on them? Is it becasue they weren't armed so he wasn't justified in actually shooting them? Another possibility is that, I assume having never been in that stiuation, it is just damn hard to pull the trigger on someone.



I'm glad that the officer was safe and hope that the bad guy gets up close and personal with a big horny guy in jail, AS HIS lady!
 

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The feeling I got from the wording is that when the trio started to close in and the officer realized the one that seemed to be reaching for a gun was actually not, that the prudent thing was to reduce the force presented. Given what transpired after, it was not the best thing to do, but hindsight is 20/40. The officer is likely thanking his decision for an external safety, thought the cases can still be made for not having one.



As the perps go. The one who tried to shoot twice....execute him. Simple as that. There is no reason to believe that if he was willing to try twice to kill a cop, that he wasn't already pre-disposed to kill anyone already. Even alcohol doesn't excuse such an act.

The others should get life behind bars for not having the common sense to stop the guy. If they were drunk at the time, too bad.



The crime problem is partly caused by the lack of ingrained knowledge of what the consequenses of actions will be. If you're party to an attempted murder, you might get a few years, you might get a lot of years. You might just get a year and probation. I think if there was a set term of 20 years for accessory to attempted murder with no possibility of parole or reduction, there'd be a lot fewer people standing by and letting it happen.



but that's just my humble opinion.
 

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machgt said:
3 on 1 and closing on you is probably not a good time to re-holster your weapon
+1. But I couldn't imagaine shooting an unarmed person. Thankfully the cop is ok...hopefully those who attempted to take his life will be in prison a long long time. I really like that the first words out of the girls mouth was "I was extreamely intoxicated last night...". Put all three of them away.
 

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Fire1 said:
[quote name='machgt']3 on 1 and closing on you is probably not a good time to re-holster your weapon
+1. But I couldn't imagaine shooting an unarmed person. Thankfully the cop is ok...hopefully those who attempted to take his life will be in prison a long long time. I really like that the first words out of the girls mouth was "I was extreamely intoxicated last night...". Put all three of them away.[/quote]





I don't have any fantasies about doing so but I most certainly can imagine doing so.
 

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Fire1 said:
But I couldn't imagaine shooting an unarmed person.
The officer shouldn't have gotten involved by himself. He wasn't being directly threatened. Without some kind of back-up/ support he had few options except shoot the most aggresive one or the physically largest one first. Once he introduced himself with his weapon into this situation, his number one priority should have been weapon retention. The smart think to do would have been keep them under observation until more officers arrived with supeior physical force to contain the situation. If you bring a gun into an encouter it is a deadly force encounter weather the other person is armed or not. Don't threaten with a gun if you are unwilling to use it.
 

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Leman began, "I was extremely intoxicated last night ..." but Public Defender Karen Kreizenbeck who was in the audience, jumped up and told Willis she would take Leman's case. Kreizenbeck then advised Leman to remain silent.


pft, lawyers
 

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FieroCDSP said:
The feeling I got from the wording is that when the trio started to close in and the officer realized the one that seemed to be reaching for a gun was actually not, that the prudent thing was to reduce the force presented. Given what transpired after, it was not the best thing to do, but hindsight is 20/40. The officer is likely thanking his decision for an external safety, thought the cases can still be made for not having one.



As the perps go. The one who tried to shoot twice....execute him. Simple as that. There is no reason to believe that if he was willing to try twice to kill a cop, that he wasn't already pre-disposed to kill anyone already. Even alcohol doesn't excuse such an act.

The others should get life behind bars for not having the common sense to stop the guy. If they were drunk at the time, too bad.



The crime problem is partly caused by the lack of ingrained knowledge of what the consequenses of actions will be. If you're party to an attempted murder, you might get a few years, you might get a lot of years. You might just get a year and probation. I think if there was a set term of 20 years for accessory to attempted murder with no possibility of parole or reduction, there'd be a lot fewer people standing by and letting it happen.



but that's just my humble opinion.


Even if Leman was unarmed, they were still coming towards. A threat to the officer's safety still existed. I don't think that I would have put my gun away. If three unarmed men are coming at me, I am going to use my gun to keep them away from me.
 

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This story reminds me of my old H&K P7M8. I always liked that weapon (it was very accurate, yet extremely compact), and was amused by the occasional anecdotal stories of bad guys getting one away from an officer, but not being able to figure out how the darn thing worked! (An odd design, you actually had to squeeze the front of the grip to cock the thing).



This sort of unfortunate event is also the occasional justification for including magazine safeties on handguns--if the officer can drop the mag he can effectively disable the weapon for a time. Yes, I know there are the tactical purists out there who insist that a magazine safety is nothing short of anathema, but sometimes when I hear about these events, it makes me wonder if that might be a practical reason for one? I think there are pros and cons to a mag safety, and I am certainly glad that S&W went with the decision to make the mag safety optional on M&P pistols, instead of a required feature across the board. Now if we can just convince them to offer the thumb safety on all models, rather than just the .45.
 

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Stupid is as stupid does..
 

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Glad to hear that the officer is OK, but in all honesty the title should read piss poor training and too much bravado nearly got an officer killed.



The officer in question was the cheif of records and technology, as in he hasnt seen the light of day for a long time. What the hell was he thinking going into a fight, much worse a domestic issue, alone against 3 people. I am willing to bet he violated a good number of his own department's policies. Hopefully he learned fromt his mistake.
 

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So you're saying that the sworn law enforcement officer should have hidden in the library rather than respond to a violent domestic disturbance right outside his duty station?
 

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I'm glad the officer was not injured but he certainly did not control the situation very well. Once he escalated to deadly force he should have stayed at that level. 3 people advancing on an LEO when his weapon is drawn is a disparity of force and deadly force threat, as the officer soon found out.



The only reason he is alive is that his attackers were retards. If the guy that got his gun was a little smarter, the cop would be dead.



The place to defend against gun grabs is when it's in the holster. Security holsters and handgun retention training are a lot more effective than hoping that your assailant doesn't know how to work a safety.



I'm not an LEO and I was not there that night but if I was in a simular situation, I would not have reholstered that pistol.



Gringop
 

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ToddG said:
So you're saying that the sworn law enforcement officer should have hidden in the library rather than respond to a violent domestic disturbance right outside his duty station?


Not really. What I am saying is that the guy should have known his limits. 3:1 against a potential desk jockey are bad odds. Even giving the guy the benefit of the doubt, in that he may have felt that the man being pushed about was in imminent danger of death or serious injury, his actions are that of an individual with little training or understanding or both of the situation he pressed himself into. Domestic disturbances are known for turning ugly against the thrid party i.e the LEO. It is not uncommon for both parties to turn on the LEO trying to separate and control the aggressors. He should have known that and been prepared for that possibility. He was able to articulate a need to escalate the situation to a deadly force encounter, yet failed to recognize the threat to his life when being rushed by 3 attackers. This is either piss poor training, forgotten training or a complete lack of understanding of what was going on.



I guess what I was saying is that if he wants to call himself a sworn officer or his department wants to do so, someone should get more and better training on how to handle themselves in a bad situation.
 

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Some worry they will fumble w a safety, or need to shoot a gun w no mag in it to save their life.



Odds are more likely if you fumble w it it might make things more interesting but not get you killed. The other guy's fumbling w your safety is way more likely to give you enough of an edge to recover the advantage than your fumbling will get you killed.



IIRC, during the years the Illinois SP issued S&W autos, 18 officers lives were saved by manual or mag safeties (18 instances where the officer lost his gun and the BG could not use it: 2 times the BG could not undo the safety and 16 times the officer dropped the mag which also rendered it safe). Way more than were hurt or killed by fumbling w a safety, or not being able to shoot the gun w/o the mag (zero proven or suspected).
 

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Just want to clarify a few points here:

1. The third person involved was a female.



2. The officer very probably did not know the nature of the fight, nor do I see anything in the article to indicate that it was domestic (I don't know this, but I also don't see anything in the limited info provided to indicate otherwise. Although I find it odd that he would order them off the property?). So his initial impression upon arriving was to see two males assaulting a female. He is a sworn LEO, no matter how long he has been buried in paperwork, he had to act when he saw someone being (in his mind) assaulted, and I commend him for his actions. It is amazing how quickly a situation can turn ugly.



3. The 20/40 hindsight comment is dead on...He made his decisions in the split seconds of time he was given. I am sure, in hindsight, he would have acted very differently. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which side you take), we are usually not given that opportunity.



The good news in all this is that the jack*ss'es were too drunk to figure out how to fire the pistol, and the GG is able to tell his story, albeit with a few scrapes and bruises.



I am sure that the three morons involved are fine upstanding citizens and are really good guys, and they have been treated unfairly by life, etc... :roll:



Stay safe out there!
 

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TAZ said:
[quote name='ToddG']So you're saying that the sworn law enforcement officer should have hidden in the library rather than respond to a violent domestic disturbance right outside his duty station?


Not really. What I am saying is that the guy should have known his limits. 3:1 against a potential desk jockey are bad odds. Even giving the guy the benefit of the doubt, in that he may have felt that the man being pushed about was in imminent danger of death or serious injury, his actions are that of an individual with little training or understanding or both of the situation he pressed himself into. Domestic disturbances are known for turning ugly against the thrid party i.e the LEO. It is not uncommon for both parties to turn on the LEO trying to separate and control the aggressors. He should have known that and been prepared for that possibility. He was able to articulate a need to escalate the situation to a deadly force encounter, yet failed to recognize the threat to his life when being rushed by 3 attackers. This is either piss poor training, forgotten training or a complete lack of understanding of what was going on.



I guess what I was saying is that if he wants to call himself a sworn officer or his department wants to do so, someone should get more and better training on how to handle themselves in a bad situation.[/quote]



Good point TAZ. Man's got to know his limitations.
 

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"William reached into his waistband as if attempting to retrieve a handgun. P.K. drew his duty handgun, pointed it at the suspects and began to move away from them," wrote Carson Deputy C. Erven. "The suspects began closing ground on him so he re-holstered his duty weapon."


That's your problem right there. At that point, you yunload the mag, and not in a manner to make the magazine disconnect turn it into a brick.
 
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