Rondha and Stanley Gibson in an undated family photo. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Thursday marked two years since Gulf War veteran Stanley Gibson was shot and killed by a then-Metro police officer.
Much has transpired since the shooting, but Stanley Gibson's widow, Rondha Gibson, and former officer Jesus Arevalo said they will never forget the day he was killed.
"Every day with Stan was just … it was beautiful," Rondha Gibson said.
Accompanied by his brothers, Rondha Gibson returned to Stanley Gibson's grave at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City Thursday. She said she's still coming to grips with the fact that he's gone.
"I don't think it's going to get any easier. The life that Stan and I had – it's just hard to live without him," she said.
Gibson had post-traumatic stress disorder, and on Dec. 12, 2011, he became disoriented and confused when he was pulled over by police, sparking an hours-long standoff. He refused to get out of his vehicle.
"It's still hard to understand what happened and why," Arevalo said.
What happened is something Arevalo said he's thought about every day for the past two years.
"It'll always be a dark day. I feel horrible about it. I always have and I always will," he said.
Arevalo said he mistook the sound of a beanbag round for gunfire that night.
"I pulled that trigger because I honestly, wholeheartedly believed that he was shooting at us and our lives were in danger," he said.
Arevalo was terminated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in October. He said his actions were only part of the problem.
"[It was] a misperception because of a chain-of-command mistake and a radio system mistake," he said.
The police department said that radio system has since been replaced and the lieutenant in charge that night demoted.
The department settled with Rondha Gibson, paying her $1.5 million. She said it's not enough.
"We can only hope and pray one day justice will be served for us. I want everyone to just keep his memory alive, just never forget," she said. "Like I said, accountability does not equal justice that we have not gotten yet."
Arevalo said he would like to apologize to Rondha Gibson for what happened, but he knows now is not the right time.
Arevalo has filed a complaint against Metro with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, alleging civil rights violations during his termination proceedings.
Stanley Gibson's mother, Celestine Gibson, has filed a federal lawsuit against Metro.
Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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