Metro fires 'courageous' officer who tried to stop animal hospit - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Metro fires 'courageous' officer who tried to stop animal hospital robbery

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A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detective who got into a fight and fired two shots at a robbery suspect inside of an animal hospital last December has been fired from the department. A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detective who got into a fight and fired two shots at a robbery suspect inside of an animal hospital last December has been fired from the department.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department detective who got into a fight and fired two shots at a robbery suspect inside of an animal hospital last Dec. has been fired from the department.

Detective Lance Spiotto was facing an internal affairs investigation because officers said they smelled alcohol on his breath. He was never charged with a crime.

A spokesperson for the department would only say that Spiotto separated from the department on Aug. 1. The Las Vegas Police Protection Association confirmed Spiotto was terminated.

“I assume because of the investigation where they found his BAC to be whatever it was and he had a firearm on him,” LVPPA President Steve Grammas said.

Spiotto was in the animal hospital’s lobby, off-duty with his pet, when he got into a fight and fired two shots at a man police said tried to rob the business. The alleged robber was identified as Ronald Hassan Clark. Spiotto didn't stop the robbery, but he tried. Doctors had to stitch the back of his head shut with two staples. Clark wasn't hit with either of the two bullets and was arrested later by other officers in a standoff.

A few days after the shooting, Undersheriff Kevin McMahill called Spiotto's actions "courageous," but also clarified the department's policy regarding officers who drink off-duty.

"Any officer that chooses to carry their firearm -- if they're found to be intoxicated, are subject to disciplinary action," McMahill said.

"Whatever we as the PPA can do for him, as his union, we're going to do," Grammas said. "He did what he could. When officers are off-duty, they don't have a radio. They don't have backup. They don't have a bullet proof vest on ... He's just an all-around great guy, willing to help anybody."

Grammas said the punishment was too harsh and that officers in the past haven't been fired for similar offenses. The LVPPA will decide soon whether it will help Spiotto fight for his job back through an arbitration process.

"I know that he was very upset about I believe put his dog down, or his animal down, or the animal was sick. Something along those lines," Grammas said. "I would prefer to see them really put the effort into getting some counseling or some help."

Spiotto has since filed a lawsuit against Metro, stating his civil rights were violated because he was detained too long.

"You have 60 minutes to either arrest them or cut them loose," Grammas explained. "There were some issues, I believe, with the detention of Lance and how long they detained him without formally placing him under arrest or allowing him the ability to leave."

Keith Williams, the attorney representing the fired detective, declined to comment on the case.

Spiotto had been with the department since Aug. 30, 1994. If he had not been fired from the force, he would have celebrated his 23rd work anniversary at the end of the month.

Click the video above to see Spiotto's confrontation with the suspect last Dec.

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