Police: Suspect tried to shoot officer | NevadaAppeal.com

Police: Suspect tried to shoot officer

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

Bail was increased Thursday for a community college student who allegedly wrestled a gun away from a state officer and tried to shoot him twice.

William Nattrass, 21, will remain in custody unless he posts the $100,000 bail set by Justice of the Peace Robey Willis during Nattrass’ arraignment Thursday morning.

“I understand he tried to shoot the gun and it didn’t go off,” Willis said. Nattrass’ original bail was $75,000.

Nattrass is charged with felony attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, gross misdemeanor battery on a peace officer and misdemeanor possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

According to the arrest report, Nattrass, his 17-year-old brother and Vivian Donna Leman, 28, of Carson City, were having a dispute outside the State Records Repository on West Nye Lane at about 5:35 p.m.

Carson City deputies were on their way to the area for the fight when an employee of the probation office told co-worker and veteran Department of Public Safety Capt. P.K. O’Neill, that there was a fight outside.

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O’Neill, who is chief of records and technology, said when he went outside, he saw one of the men pushing Leman, and he identified himself as a police officer and told the three to stop fighting and leave the property.

“William reached into his waistband as if attempting to retrieve a handgun. P.K. drew his duty handgun, pointed it at the suspects and began to move away from them,” wrote Carson Deputy C. Erven. “The suspects began closing ground on him so he re-holstered his duty weapon.”

O’Neill told deputies the three then attacked him, with Leman punching him in the face, the juvenile kicking him and Nattrass also punching him. During the melee, Nattrass allegedly got hold of O’Neill’s loaded weapon and yelled, “I am going to kill you.”

O’Neill said that as he continued to struggle with the other two, he heard Nattrass pull back the slide on the handgun.

O’Neill said he tried to keep Leman and the juvenile between himself and Nattrass, but Nattrass allegedly reached around the other two and placed the barrel of the gun against O’Neill’s head. When the weapon did not fire, Nattrass allegedly stepped to the left and racked the slide on the handgun again, said O’Neill, the report states.

It was later determined that the gun’s safety was on. Two unspent bullets, ejected when the weapon did not fire, were found at the scene.

About this time, the group heard sirens and they ran west, according to the report.

For some reason Leman turned around and ran back toward the building where she was grabbed by a deputy. Another officer captured the juvenile in the field next to the office building and Nattrass was found hiding in the Meek’s Lumber parking lot a short time later. The captain’s handgun was found on top of a shed nearby.

“There were two things that happened here, the Sheriff’s Department had already received a call about these individuals and P.K. has 35 years of law enforcement experience and survival skills. He was literally beaten by a couple of these individuals while another one tried to kill him and he’s survived it, and he’s at work today like nothing ever happened,” said Phillip Galeoto, director of the Nevada Department of Public Safety. “We’re very proud of him.”

During Nattrass’ arraignment Thursday morning, the 6-foot 4-inch, wiry young man stood quietly at the podium, his hands shackled to a chain around his waist. He spoke only when asked how to pronounce his last name, which sounds like mattress, and when Willis asked him how he could be enrolled at the college here if he’s only been in town for two weeks.

“I’m taking the GED course,” Nattrass said.

His 17-year-old brother is being held at juvenile detention on suspicion of accessory to attempted murder, battery on police officer and minor consuming.

Leman was also arraigned Thursday morning where Willis told her she was being held on a charge of accessory to attempted murder with a bail of $75,000.

“Can I say something?” she asked.

When Willis gave her permission to speak, Leman began, “I was extremely intoxicated last night …” but Public Defender Karen Kreizenbeck who was in the audience, jumped up and told Willis she would take Leman’s case. Kreizenbeck then advised Leman to remain silent.

Willis set a preliminary hearing for Tuesday for both Leman and Nattrass.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.