Man upset by police handling of assault case.
April 23, 2002
A nighttime shooting in East Carson City in which the window of a home was riddled by a shotgun blast could have been avoided if police had handled an assault case seven months ago, the homeowner charged Monday.
“If the police had done something then, I believe my window wouldn’t have been shot up (Sunday) night,” said Lyle Dornon, who is convinced the two crimes are related.
On Sept. 11, Dornon’s 15-year-old stepson Sam Gonzalez was attacked in the family’s back yard on Century Circle following a fight at Carson High School, Dornon said.
Sam and another boy “got into a confrontation at the school. (The other boy) had pushed him, calling him a bunch of names, then threats were made, ‘We’re going to get you,’ and two days later they did,” he said.
Dornon said when a police officer came on Sept. 11, he seemed unconcerned with the situation.
“He told me ‘You shouldn’t file a report with us. You should file a report with the school.’ Then he said, ‘Well I can’t arrest them; you would have had to make an arrest.’ And then he said, ‘You can’t charge them with trespassing because you have no signs posted,'” Dornon recalled. “But three boys literally came through my back gate to attack (Sam).”
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He said the officer left paperwork with the family and later that evening he and his son went to the police station to drop it off.
After waiting for the deputy who never showed to meet them, they finally called a dispatcher, who told them to slide the completed paperwork through a slot in the window.
“I’d made a couple of phone calls after that to see what they were doing with the case and never got a satisfactory response. It became pretty apparent that nothing was going to happen,” he said.
On Friday, the same three boys involved in the fight came by the Dornon home and spoke with Sam’s mother. She didn’t know who they were, only that they were asking for Sam, Dornon said.
On Sunday night, about 11:15 p.m. as the family sat in the living room watching a movie, the quiet of the cul de sac was shattered by a booming shotgun blast that woke the neighborhood.
Dornon said he immediately shut off all the lights in the house, and once he was convinced the coast was clear he went outside with a flashlight to investigate. The upper right corner of Sam’s bedroom window was pierced by four holes and the siding on the home was riddled with tiny holes from shotgun pellets.
Dornon’s neighbor said she was in bed when she heard the shot.
“I thought it was firecracker,” she said. “I didn’t know what it was, but I got the hell out of my room and slept on the couch.”
Her response upon learning someone had intentionally shot at her neighbors home was one of shock.
“Judas priest. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in Carson City.”
Another neighbor told police she saw a white male wearing black pants and a black hooded jacket with a shotgun on his shoulder riding away from the home on a bicycle.
Dornon told investigators whom he suspected of doing the shooting, and they went to the suspect’s home Sunday night but found no bicycle or firearm. The boy’s parents told officers their son was home sleeping all night.
Scott Burau, chief deputy of the Carson City Sheriff’s Department, said investigators don’t know yet if the assault in September and the shooting Sunday night are related. However, he did admit the department mishandled the initial case.
“We made a mistake,” he said.
The deputy, who is no longer with the department, had submitted the incident as “settled at scene,” meaning he never filed a report. The only record the department has of the assault taking place comes from dispatch records, Burau said.
“It appears that nothing was done. I don’t have an answer for why. We are investigating all of the paperwork and it would suggest that somebody dropped the ball. We now have detectives involved in this matter and we will get to the bottom of it,” Burau said.
Investigators were back on Century Circle on Monday afternoon, questioning neighbors and talking to kids.
Dornon said he spent all of Monday in meetings at the school with officials and the parents of at least one of the three boys named as aggressors in the assault.
He said one father has committed to helping him get to the bottom of the incident.
“We need to find out the truth and get the guy who did this,” Dornon said.
Dornon also went by the Carson City Courthouse and got restraining orders against two of the boys involved in the fight.
“Who’s accountable?” Dornon asked. “If the first deputy had done what he was supposed to, (Sunday) wouldn’t have happened,” he said.