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Peaceful vigil held for man fatally shot by Las Vegas police

Updated June 10, 2020 - 12:37 am

More than 50 people marched more than 3 miles as part a vigil Tuesday night to honor Jorge Gomez, who was shot and killed by Las Vegas police last week at a Black Lives Matter protest.

A handful of people came armed, welcomed by organizers who said Gomez was exercising his Second Amendment right when he was shot. The group walked nearly 3.5 miles from Trump International to the Lloyd George U.S. Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas.

Las Vegas police had shut down the Fashion Show mall parking garages and Fashion Show Drive in preparation for the protest. At the courthouse, the group was met by several dozen police officers, lining every side of the block the building stands on, but none made their way to the front of the courthouse where the vigil had begun around 9 p.m.

Supporters lit candles and organizers encouraged them to write messages of support on the back of a poster with photos of Gomez. The family spoke through Edgar Flores, who first hosted three minutes of silence, first for the Black Lives Matter movement, for Las Vegas police officer Shay Mikalonis and then for Gomez.

“The Gomez family grew up every single day shooting,” Flores said. “It was something they did as a family, it was something they enjoy and they always expressed their right for the Second Amendment.”

Gomez was wearing full body armor, a ballistic vest and had three guns on him when he was shot 19 times. Police said it looked as if he was raising a rifle at the officers when he was shot while running near the courthouse.

Police said Friday they hadn’t yet uncovered any video footage of his running, and all four officers who fired at Gomez were not wearing body cameras.

Flores said the family has members with backgrounds in law enforcement, government and the military.

“Members of law enforcement, understandably, were scared, and in a moment of panic when so many things were happening,” Flores said. “We know there are members of law enforcement who grew up in the same exact neighborhoods we did who became members of law enforcement for the same exact reason we’re protesting right now, because they grew up seeing injustice.”

Devin Roberts, 26, of Las Vegas came with a semiautomatic gun at his side and a sign that read “blue is a choice!”

“I see police injustice,” he said. “I want them to better handle these types of situations.”

Roberts said officers who see injustices could leave the police force, saying it’s a choice and that “the system is corrupt.”

Dierdre Thurman, 44, had been protesting every night. The west valley resident came Tuesday with her daughter, son and nephew.

“We want to support the Gomez family. We didn’t know him, but we were at the same protest,” Thurman said.

Thurman said she plans to come out every night until there is systemic change.

Flores encouraged anyone with video evidence of Gomez’s death to contact the family.

“We’ve repeatedly seen reports after reports, he tripped, he fell, he was resisting,” Flores said. “It’s not until we speak up and we bring up the truth that real justice is served.”

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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