Man died from gunshot wound to the head

A man killed in a shootout with Carson City sheriff's deputies, after critically wounding his girlfriend, died from a gunshot wound to the head, an autopsy revealed Friday.

The 31-year-old black-clad gunman, whose name was not released by police, fired at least 18 shots Thursday from a semi-automatic rifle loaded with a 50-round magazine at his girlfriend, Prisca Watson, 44, in the garage of her East Carson home.

She remained in serious condition Friday evening in the intensive-care unit at Washoe Medical Center in Reno with bullet wounds to her stomach and hand, hospital officials said.

The couple had been fighting inside the home in the 1400 block of Stanford Drive when the argument moved to the garage, said sheriff's spokesman Scott Burau.

Watson's 12-year-old daughter was home at the time and had been told by her mother to wait in her bedroom, friends of the woman's daughter said.

After the shooting, witnesses said, the gunman dressed in a black trench coat, under which he appeared to be hiding something. He calmly walked from the blood-soaked garage and up the street, they said.

Police were called and a search for the man began.

A short time later, two Carson City deputies found the man lying prone in sagebrush on Lepire Hill three blocks from the home, according to a source close to the investigation.

When deputies came within 75 to 100 feet, the man, still on the ground, aimed an AK-47 and opened fire. He first emptied the assault rifle and then switched to a semi-automatic 9mm handgun.

As one deputy fell unhurt into the brush, a sergeant -- called a hero by deputies -- stood his ground and returned fire with a .223-caliber rifle. The gunman was struck by at least three shots as he lay on the ground.

The wounded man was taken to Carson-Tahoe Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:03 p.m.

The sergeant, described as a "seasoned veteran" with the sheriff's department, has been placed on administrative leave with pay while an investigation into the shooting is completed by the Nevada Division of Investigation.

Burau said the sergeant, who has never been involved in a shooting, has spent his entire law enforcement career with the Carson City Sheriff's Department.

According to a source, the black-clad gunman, believed to be from New York, has had run-ins with the law here before.

Last month, he was picked up on a drunken-driving charge. In 2000, he was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession and domestic violence at East Long and Roop streets. The disposition of both cases is unknown.

Laurie Hancock, a manager at the Nevada Appeal where Watson worked, said she spoke with Watson's daughter, Chrissy, on Friday afternoon.

Watson, also a long-time employee of Long's Drugs, delivers the Appeal to homes each morning.

"Chrissy said her mother had extensive surgery Thursday and received in excess of 10 pints of blood," Hancock said. "Chrissy also said things were looking positive and her mother was able to squeeze her hand and mouth the words, 'I love you.'"


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