OIS Report Released
WCDA Report Released Detailing November 5, 2021 Officer Involved Shooting Incident of Isaiah Herndon

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Kendall Holcomb
775-328-3223 (o)

Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks has determined that the November 5, 2021, Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) of Isaiah Herndon, age 28 from Reno, by Reno Police Department (RPD) Officers Casey Thomas and Steve Welin was justified under Nevada law.

Consistent with this office’s ongoing public reporting on all OIS cases, District Attorney Hicks has released a detailed 22-page report containing the facts of the case, photographs, identification of those involved, witness accounts, and his legal analysis supporting the case’s conclusion.  This determination is based on an extensive review of the investigation conducted by the Sparks Police Department, which was submitted to this office.  Unless new circumstances come to light that contradict the factual foundation upon which this decision was made, this case is officially closed.  Copies of all completed OIS reports are available on the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office’s website at 

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 November 5, 2021, two Reno Police Department (hereinafter “RPD”) officers, Casey Thomas (hereinafter “Officer Thomas”) and Steve Welin (hereinafter “Officer Welin”), responded to a call at an apartment complex on 197 E. Grove Street at approximately 10:44 p.m. The officers received information from dispatch about a 911 call regarding a family disturbance, wherein the caller reported hearing screaming and pounding on the walls of the adjoining apartment. The caller believed a male and a female were involved in some type of altercation. The caller also stated that he believed he heard a gunshot or a firework prior to the screaming.

Officers arrived at the apartment complex in separate vehicles and located the reported apartment, apartment #F13. The apartment was on the second floor and upon reaching it, the officers stood on either side of the door along a narrow walkway. They could hear yelling coming from the apartment and believed someone inside was in distress. Officer Welin knocked on the door and unholstered his firearm. Officer Thomas contacted dispatch to ask for an open channel in case entry into the apartment was needed.

The officers heard a loud thump and then the front door to the apartment suddenly opened. Immediately after the opening of the door, an arm extended out of the doorway. In its hand was a semiautomatic firearm that was pointed in the direction of Officer Thomas. Fearing for their lives, Officer Thomas and Officer Welin discharged their weapons in the direction of the armed subject in the entryway to apartment #F13. The individual who had opened the apartment door, later identified as Isaiah Hartford Herndon (hereafter “Herndon”) then retreated into the apartment and began shouting to officers that he was shot.

Immediately after firing, Officers Thomas and Welin backed away from the apartment and attempted to take cover while also calling for assistance. Numerous officers arrived on scene and one RPD officer, Colby Thomas (hereinafter “Officer C. Thomas”), took a position in the parking lot where she could see inside the apartment. Officer C. Thomas reported that Herndon was now lying down in the doorway of the apartment. Based on this information, Herndon was given commands to show his hands. Officers then grabbed Herndon and pulled him out of the apartment and down the walkway to the front of apartment #F12, which was next door to Herndon’s apartment. Officers immediately began life saving measures on Herndon, who was actively bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Renown Regional Medical Center where he underwent treatment and survived.

Responding officers searched the apartment immediately after the shooting but found no other persons inside. It was later determined that Herndon had been consuming alcohol, methamphetamine, and ecstasy prior to the shooting and was having a self-diagnosed “mental episode” where he was hearing voices and yelling back at them. He subsequently claimed that when he heard the officers knock on the door, he asked who it was, and when no one answered, he opened the door with his gun in front of him and shot.

Consistent with the regionally adopted Officer Involved Shooting (hereinafter “OIS”) Protocol, the Sparks Police Department (hereinafter “SPD”) led the investigation into the shooting of Isaiah Herndon. 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.

Herndon was subsequently charged and pled guilty to two counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon upon the officers and one count of Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. On March 14, 2023, he was sentenced to an aggregate sentence of 216 months in prison with parole eligibility commencing after 84 months have been served. To ensure the integrity of the criminal case, this Officer Involved Shooting review was held pending the outcome of Herndon’s prosecution.

Upon completion of the criminal prosecution, all police reports, along with FIS forensic reports, collected documentation, photographs, witness statements, recorded audio and video of the incident, dispatch recordings, and recorded interviews were resubmitted to the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office on July 12, 2023, for a final determination of whether the shooting of Herndon was legally justified. No criminal charges against Officers Welin or Thomas were recommended by SPD.

The OIS investigation included interviewing witnesses, collecting physical evidence from the shooting scene, photographing the shooting scene, forensic testing of collected evidence, and reviewing Body Worn Camera (hereinafter “BWC”) footage taken from the BWC worn by the officers involved.

The District Attorney’s evaluation included reviewing hundreds of pages of reports and documents and watching hours of BWC video collected from law enforcement on scene at the time of the shooting and this report follows that review.

Based on the available evidence and the applicable legal authorities, it is the opinion of the District Attorney that the shooting of Isaiah Herndon was justified under Nevada law.

Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »