Officer Involved Shooting Report
Report Released by Washoe County District Attorney Detailing March 20,2019 Officer Involved Shooting Incident Related to Attempted Murder of Reno Police Officer
For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4304 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has determined that the March 20, 2019 Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) of Ronald George Akers, age 44, by Reno Police Department (RPD) Patrol Officer Ryan Gott was justified under Nevada law. The shooting occurred after Officer Gott contacted Akers in connection with a call for police assistance related to an incident at a South Reno restaurant. During the contact, Akers attacked the officer and a violent struggle ensued that lasted several minutes. The investigation determined that just prior to being shot, Akers gained control of Officer Gott’s baton and hit the officer over the head with it approximately 12 times. Officer Gott briefly lost consciousness before drawing his firearm and firing at Akers. Immediately following the shooting, additional RPD officers arrived on scene and provided medical assistance to both Officer Gott and Akers before both were transported by ambulance to Renown Medical Center. Officer Gott sustained numerous lacerations, contusions and injuries to his head as a result of the attack. Akers sustained a single gunshot wound to his left abdomen and was treated at the hospital before being booked into the Washoe County Jail. Akers subsequently pled to one count of Attempted Murder and was sentenced in July to the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, with parole eligibility beginning after a minimum of 8 years has been served.
Following the conclusion of Akers’ criminal case and consistent with this office’s ongoing public reporting on all OIS cases, District Attorney Hicks has now released his detailed 33-page report containing the facts of the case, photographs, identification of those involved, witness accounts, and his legal analysis. This conclusion is based on an extensive review of the investigation conducted by the Sparks Police Department, which was submitted to this office on February 11, 2020.
Copies of all completed OIS reports are available on the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office’s website at https://www.washoecounty.us/da/newsroom/reports.php Inquiries regarding the release of any public records involving the investigation and its evidence can be directed to the involved law enforcement agencies.
Introduction of the Report:
On March 20, 2019, Ronald George Akers (hereinafter “Akers”) walked into a McDonald’s restaurant, located at 735 South Meadows Parkway in Reno, Nevada, having been previously trespassed and told not to return. Akers was verbally and physically aggressive towards the female manager, Almadeli Mena (hereinafter “Ms. Mena”), and consequently she called 911. Reno Police Officer Ryan Gott (hereinafter “Officer Gott”) responded and arrived after Akers had already left the restaurant. However, Officer Gott met with Ms. Mena, who reported the details of her encounter with Akers and a description of what he was wearing. Ms. Mena also advised Officer Gott that Akers walked in a northbound direction towards a lake located behind the Latitude 39 Apartments, and this was confirmed by two employees of a neighboring business. Ms. Mena advised Officer Gott that she was willing to sign a citizen’s complaint for Trespassing.
Officer Gott returned to his patrol car and drove to the Latitude 39 Apartments. Officer Gott parked his vehicle and walked towards the lake in an attempt to locate Akers. Officer Gott was able to ultimately locate Akers walking south on a walking path, in the direction back towards McDonald’s. Officer Gott, activated his body worn camera (hereinafter “BWC”), which recorded his interaction with Akers in both audio and video. Officer Gott was wearing his readily-identifiable Reno Police Department (hereinafter “RPD”) uniform. Upon contact with Akers, he immediately became confrontational and belligerent with Officer Gott. During their contact, Akers repeatedly placed his hands in his pockets, to which Officer Gott asked him to remove his hands for officer safety reasons. Akers continued his belligerent demeanor towards Officer Gott and refused to remove his hands as instructed.
Akers chose to walk away from Officer Gott southbound on the walking path. Due to the ongoing investigation and the fact that Akers was now walking back towards McDonald’s, Officer Gott grabbed Akers’ right arm with both of his hands. Akers immediately shoved Officer Gott’s hands off him and punched him in the face, which caused Officer Gott’s BWC to dislodge and fall to the ground. The BWC landed with the camera facing down towards the pavement, thereby obscuring further video; however, the audio recording continued. Officer Gott removed his police-issued wooden baton and repeatedly ordered Akers to get on the ground, which Akers refused. Akers continually approached Officer Gott and tried to grab his baton. Officer Gott struck Akers on his right and then on his left hand as he approached, but this did not stop Akers’ aggression. Akers, being larger than Officer Gott, was able to overpower him and the two fell to the ground fighting. They rolled down a grass embankment from the walking path towards the lake, and during the fight, Officer Gott lost control of his baton. Officer Gott ended up on top of Akers, straddling him. Akers, however, was able to grab the baton from the ground repeatedly struck Officer Gott with it upon his head. Officer Gott lost consciousness, sustained multiple lacerations to his head, and was bleeding profusely.
Officer Gott regained consciousness, and was able to separate himself from Akers and push himself up. Officer Gott retrieved his handgun from his duty belt, and as Akers aggressively charged at him again, Officer Gott fired one round from his firearm, striking Akers in his abdomen. Prior to the physical fight, Officer Gott had requested cover officers to respond, and Officer Charles Burow (hereinafter “Officer Burow”) arrived after the shot had been fired and saw Akers on his back and Officer Gott bleeding heavily from his head. Officer Burow handcuffed Akers, with Officer Gott’s assistance, and then other law enforcement officers arrived and began providing medical care to both Akers and Officer Gott. Akers sustained a gunshot wound to his left abdomen, was transported to Renown Regional Medical Center for treatment of his injuries, and survived. A subsequent toxicology analysis revealed Akers’ blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal DUI limit in Nevada of 0.08.
Consistent with the regionally-adopted Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) Protocol, the Sparks Police Department (hereinafter “SPD”) led the investigation into the shooting of Akers. The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (hereinafter “WCSO”) provided secondary investigative support, and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Science Division (hereinafter “FIS”) provided forensic services. The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office provided assistance in obtaining search warrants and seizure orders.
The investigation included interviewing witnesses, canvassing the shooting area for additional witnesses and any video surveillance, collecting physical evidence, photographing the shooting scene, forensically testing collected evidence, reviewing medical records of both Akers and Officer Gott, reviewing Body Worn Cameras, and interviewing multiple officers to include Officer Gott.
Upon completion of the entire investigation, all police reports along with FIS forensic reports, collected documentation, photographs, witness statements, recorded audio and video of the incident by way of Body Worn Cameras, dispatch recordings, and recorded interviews were submitted to the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office on February 21, 2020 for a final determination of whether the shooting of Akers was legally justified. No criminal charges against Officer Gott were recommended by SPD.
The District Attorney’s evaluation included reviewing nearly 600 pages of reports and documents, which included interviews of police and civilian witnesses. It further included the review of all photographs, video and audio recordings, and examination of the scene of the shooting. This report follows.
Based on the available evidence and the applicable legal authorities, it is the opinion of the District Attorney that the shooting of Akers by Officer Gott was justified and not a criminal act.
 While the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office received the submitted investigation on February 21, 2020, review of the investigation for purposes of this Report did not commence until July 13, 2020, which is the day Akers was sentenced and his criminal case concluded.