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Attorney calls Jorge Gomez fact-finding review 'pre-scripted circus,' no video shown that proves he raised gun

Posted at 11:25 AM, Apr 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 23:44:00-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Their voices could be heard early and often.

"I'm running away! Don't shoot!" chanted demonstrators outside the Clark County Government Center, condemning the killing of Jorge Gomez who was shot and killed by police during last year’s George Floyd protests in downtown Las Vegas.

WATCH: Fact-finding review of Jorge Gomez police shooting death

On Friday, a fact-finding review designed to inform the public about the case took place following the district attorney’s initial decision to not bring charges against the officers involved.

Gomez's family and others have been pushing for answers since Gomez was shot. The family has also filed a lawsuit against the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Officer Jason Levitt was the chief investigator from the first investigation into the shooting and the only witness in the fact-finding review on Friday morning.

Levitt said officers who were assigned to protect the federal building that night fired several less-than-lethal rounds towards Gomez when he didn’t comply.

"You can see the footage," one demonstrator told 13 Action News. "Jorge Gomez was posing absolutely no threat to them. They hunted him down and murdered him down in the street like an animal."

During the review, Leavitt played newly-released videos of the moments leading up to and after the shooting.

None of the new videos appears to prove that Gomez raised his gun before being shot by the police officers, which is what police say happened.

Also presented during the review were messages from Gomez to other protesters and statements from several officers who were either involved in the shooting or nearby.

RELATED: How did the coroner's inquest for fatal police shootings become the fact-finding review in Clark County?

Officer Levitt says they reviewed text messages from Gomez where he told others that he had been left alone at earlier protests because he was armed and encouraged violent protests over peaceful ones and wearing of body armor.

He also reportedly told others to be “ready for war.”

Four officers shot at Gomez when he ran towards officers, Leavitt said. Three of the officers told investigators that Gomez was raising his rifle when they fired and one said he thought Gomez was already shooting police because less than lethal rounds were being shot at him.

RELATED: Newly-released surveillance videos track Jorge Gomez's moves ahead of deadly shooting by Vegas police

If Gomez had lived, according to Leavitt, he would be facing several charges, including assault with a deadly weapon.

When the fact-finding was finished, the family's attorney said he was hoping for a different outcome.

"They've admitted he never raised a gun. They've admitted we [police officers] shot him in the back," said the attorney. "Hold them accountable."

He went on to say, "They shot him in the back of the head. They shot him in the back. How is that a justified killing when somebody's running away from you?"

Instead, the attorney says most of this review was spent smearing Jorge Gomez's name.

"They said that he was charged with possession of marijuana. That was from five years ago," he said. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"This was not about the officers and why they did what they did. This was about vilifying Jorge. Further kicking the family while they're down, further making them feel pain," he said. "That's what today was about."

RELATED: Parents of armed man killed during Vegas protest sue police

The emotional mother of Jorge Gomez arguing that this isn't the first time a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department fact-finding review ended without explanation or accountability, and she says it won't be the last.

"These public fact-finding reviews for a bunch of these families back here are back here," she said gesturing to a crowd behind her, "they don't do anything. It's a dog and pony show."

"The DA [district attorney] has done hundreds of officer-involved shootings, he's prosecuted zero," she said.

There have been 85 previous fact-finding reviews, none of which resulted in charges from the district attorney.

For Jorge Gomez's case, District Attorney Steve Wolfson will make his final decision about whether or not charges will be brought against the officers involved within two weeks.

This story has been edited.