Gunman, 77, died near own gravesite |

Gunman, 77, died near own gravesite

by Sheila Gardner
Nevada Appeal News Service

GARDNERVILLE – A man who police say pointed a loaded shotgun at a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy was only feet from his own tombstone when the officer shot and killed him Wednesday afternoon.

Authorities say David Pendleton, 77, of Gardnerville, was killed at the Garden Cemetery after summoning police there.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Jim Halsey said Pendleton’s wife had died recently and is buried in a family plot. Next to it, officers found a headstone with David Pendleton’s name and date of birth already engraved.

According to reports, Pendleton was shot by a deputy after he pointed a shotgun at the officer. The deputy, identified Thursday as Richard Koontz, had been dispatched to the Gardnerville cemetery at 2:10 p.m. on a report of a body lying outside a white truck.

Koontz found Pendleton near the truck holding a shotgun in his hands, and he tried to persuade Pendleton to place the weapon on the ground.

Halsey said Pendleton pointed the shotgun at Koontz, who fired his duty firearm. Pendleton died at the scene before additional officers or paramedics arrived.

The 29-year-old officer is a six-year veteran of the department and is paid leave pending an investigation, as is routine.

“We’re going to make sure all procedures were followed and the officer acted appropriately,” said Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini. He said the process could take at least one month.

Investigations are being conducted by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Nevada Department of Public Safety and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.

Halsey said the sheriff’s office had several contacts with Pendleton over the past few years during which he had threatened to use weapons against civilians and law enforcement officers.

Pendleton was facing a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly pointed a BB gun at a Gardnerville businessman on Nov. 30. At the arraignment in East Fork Justice Court on Dec. 2, Judge Tom Perkins warned Pendleton of the consequences of such behavior.

Pendleton claimed in court that he had followed the man to his workplace to complain about his driving. He denied brandishing the weapon.

“You can’t just follow somebody to work and argue about how they drove,” Perkins said. “You’re lucky you didn’t get shot.”

The judge ordered Pendleton to have all firearms removed from his home.

He bailed out the same day, according to reports, and was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday afternoon with his lawyer, Tod Young.

Halsey said investigators were looking into where Pendleton got the shotgun he had in the cemetery.

In 2008, deputies were called to the residence because Pendleton reportedly had locked his ailing wife out of their home and would not allow her to get her medicine.

In 2010, a family member said, Pendleton removed his wife from a care center against a doctor’s recommendation. He eventually lost guardianship of his wife. Relatives alleged that he had threatened her caregivers and greeted a caseworker with a weapon who came to the home to check on her well-being.

Pendleton’s son told deputies his father had been a federal arms dealer and had multiple weapons.

According to reports, he said Pendleton was bipolar, drank heavily and had multiple loaded weapons stored all over the residence.

He said his father had made comments about shooting law enforcement officers or other people who tried to enter his house.

Charlene Pendleton, 77, was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and died June 4. The Pendletons had been married for 59 years and lived in Carson Valley since 1964.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.