HENDERSON (KTNV) — The Henderson Police Department has released new 911 calls, radio traffic and body camera video from an early November shooting that left four people dead. But the method of the release is raising questions about police transparency.
Henderson police released the details on Wednesday in a prepared YouTube link (viewer discretion advised) with scripted statements from command staff and select audio and video clips.
The incident happened on Nov. 3, Election Day, around 11 a.m. at an apartment complex near Stephanie Street and Interstate 215.
A neighbor heard several gunshots and went to the apartment to investigate, then called 911.
Dispatcher "Tell me exactly what's happening."
Caller: "I don't know. I heard gunshots so I jumped out of bed and came next-door and now she's laying here she can't breathe she's soaked in her own blood."
Moments later the caller finds additional victims inside the apartment.
Caller: "Oh my God, there's somebody else in here. There's somebody else on the floor.
Dispatcher: "Are they bleeding?"
Caller: "Yes they're dead, I'm sure they're dead."
Inside the apartment were Dianne Hawatmeh, her daughter Yasmeen, and Veronica Muniz.
Police rushed to the scene and found Dianne and Veronica were shot in the head and were pronounced dead a short time later.
Yasmeen was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound to her leg.
While police attended to the victims, the shooter, who changed his legal name to Jason Bourne, was on the phone with 911 nearby.
Bourne: "Hello? Hi, can you hear me?"
Dispatcher: "Yes, how can I help you."
Bourne: "This is Jason. I sometimes think my name is XM Satellite Radio. And I'm here with -- we're doing a movie I want to introduce myself. I'm sorry I am Gotham's reckoning also known as Bane."
Dispatcher: "Where are you, sir?"
Bourne was feet away from the shooting scene in a black SUV with 12-year-old Joseph Hawatmeh at gunpoint.
Henderson police released bodycam videos of the seconds before seven officers opened fire.
"Take the shot if you have it," can be heard on the video just before the shots were fired.
In the immediate aftermath, a voice can be heard screaming "there's a kid in the car."
Henderson police confirm the boy "died from injuries inflicted by Bourne" and Bourne was killed by police.
The release of information came from the police video which they called a "critical incident community briefing."
It came without a news conference and without an opportunity for the news media to ask any follow-up questions.
The video included statements from Henderson police command staff.
"This transparent viewing is in no way intended to draw any conclusions about whether the officers involved acted consistently with our policies and the law until all the facts are known and the investigation is complete," said Lt. John Plunkett of Henderson police in the prepared video.
"Really, there's something rather dishonest about calling your presentation transparent when you are picking and choosing what information you choose to present to the public," said Attorney Alina Shell at Mcletchie Law in Las Vegas.
The law office specializes in government transparency and often represents media and other organizations in first amendment matters and public records.
Shell says pre-packaged police briefings without media being present or public scrutiny are becoming more common.
"It is a trend that I have observed recently, law enforcement agencies, they’re tending to filter and package information about volatile events like officer-involved shootings and that is a disturbing trend," said Shell.
Shell says the information should be made public without government filters.
"There has been a greater push for police departments to be accountable to the public, that they're supposed to protect and serve, and when you have departments controlling information and not allowing members of the public or the media to ask what could be tough questions then you're eroding that accountability and you are eroding the public's trust," said Shell.
13 Investigates submitted 10 questions to Henderson police, including a request for an on-camera interview regarding the shooting incident.
The questions included the whereabouts of additional bodycam videos from the officers on the scene as well as other dash camera videos.
13 Investigates asked if any of the officers that fired their weapons had been involved in other police-involved shootings.
A spokesperson said no one was available for an on-camera interview and the additional questions could not be answered due to the active and on-going investigation.
A motive for the shooting is currently unknown and it is unclear if Bourne had any previous history with law enforcement.