LAS VEGAS -- Sheriff Doug Gillespie sat down at radio station KXNT Tuesday, answering questions by the station’s listeners who called in.
Many of the calls asked Gillespie about the high number of officer-involved shootings this year -- 18 so far, including the controversial shooting death of Erik Scott, 39, shot to death by three Las Vegas Metro police officers.
“Why do they always shoot above the leg?” One caller asked. “Couldn't you take these people down in a more reasonable fashion that might save some life and heartache?”
“We shoot for center mass,” Gillespie responded. "That's the way we've trained. It’s the most effective way to diffuse the threat -- people aren't necessarily standing still.”
Another caller asked: “Do you think in the Costco shooting, though, that might have saved someone's life? Was he really that dangerous?”
Gillespie: “Yes, that is the reason why we've chosen to fire our weapons.”
Another caller asked just who would be investigating the shooting death of Scott.
“We are the investigating arm,” Gillespie said. “There is oversight from the district attorney's office, as well, and the Department of Justice at the federal level takes a look at all of these types of cases.”
Gillespie told listeners the checks and balances are in place to ensure a fair investigation, and the coroner’s inquest -- expected in September -- will weigh heavily.
In the past 34 years, the coroner has found one police shooting death unjustified.