Kenneth Stafford, who was killed by Reno police in June of 2013
Kenneth Stafford, who was killed by Reno police in June of 2013

This post was received via submission (included in its entirety below the video) from Terry A. Colgrove, who is the mother of Kenneth J. Stafford, a soldier from the Reno area that was killed by the police in Sparks, NV (a suburb of Reno), while suffering a PTSD-related episode on July 11th, 2013. His wife had called 911 to report that he was suicidal and, as has increasingly become the case when people call the police for help with medical or mental health issues, police responded by killing him.

Note: Currently, there is a FaceBook page, entitled “Justice for Kenneth Jewel Stafford,” where you can connect with his family and find out more about the case. In addition, there is a GoFundMe account that has been set up to collect donations for his family.

With the never-ending middle east wars and the amount of soldiers returning from them with mental health issues, such as PTSD, cases of veterans being killed by police have been on the rise and increasingly in the spotlight. Here in Las Vegas, inadequate care by the VA and the inability of the police to deal with PTSD sufferers was one of the main factors that led to the murder of Stanley Gibson, a veteran from the first Persian Gulf War, by Jesus Arevalo, who was an officer with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department until they “fired” him one week before announcing that he would be collecting $30,000/yr. for the rest of his life, because murdering Stanley had caused him to be stressed out.

While researching the submission, I found an article from shortly after Kenneth Stafford was shot. The video from that article is embedded below. The article is a little vague on details, but includes this statement from the police:

“According to Washoe County Officials, while officers were attempting to negotiate with Stafford, officers opened fire. Authorities have not said what prompted police to shoot him, that’s still under investigation.”

PTSD is becoming an epidemic among veterans.
PTSD is becoming an epidemic among veterans.

To say the least, that leaves a lot of questions about why “officers opened fire,” especially when the police have a tendency to claim the people they shot were making some sort of threatening gesture or movement immediately after they kill someone. Other questions brought up in the video include why Stafford’s wife (who states that she begged them not to hurt him during the 911 call), mother, and a very close family friend were prevented from talking to him.

Another article, from June of 2014, references the final report from the DA (which they “forgot” to notify the family of) and provides an explanation that is a little (but not much) less questionable. In the report, the DA declared Kenneth Stafford’s shooting justified, in part based on the commonly used “Argument from Authority” (I.E. you’re not a cop, so you don’t know) and partly because all five cops shot at Kenneth:

According to reports, Kenneth Stafford, an active military member on leave, left the home he was visiting in Sparks with a shotgun. 11 minutes after police made contact with the 27 year old Army soldier, officers say negotiations weren’t successful.

In the final report Washoe County District Attorney, Richard Gammick determined the shooting to be justified under all applicable laws.

Stafford’s wife, Aimee doesn’t accept that decision, “I don’t see anything about that situation that was justifiable, um he was shot 15, 14 or 15 times. There’s no need for that ad the places he was shot, there’s no need for that.”

The autopsy report reveals 14 bullets hit Stafford, in his forehead, neck, chest, abdomen, ankle, knee and thigh.

Gammick says, “The officers have to make a call. Unless you’ve warn the badge, unless you’ve been out there and confronted people with weapons, you don’t understand that those decisions are made in split seconds, it’s not something you can 20/20 hindsight and spend the next four months analyzing.”

Prior to officers opening fire, reports indicate that police requested a less lethal device, “Officers requested a 40mm launcher, which would have had a mid-range potential solution,” says Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen.

That device was never used and officers say Stafford escalated his behavior “to the point of quickly turning towards the officers in the backyard in a manner such as to point the shotgun at them.”

Calling the cops can get someone killed
Calling the cops can get someone killed

Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen says the audio and video captured that day illustrates that all five shooting officers reacted simultaneously firing 22 shots, 14 of them hitting Stafford.

“The fact that all the officers on scene perceived the same thing at the same moment really they all took independent and justifiable actions against Mr. Stafford. The fact that there are 22 rounds, if you take the number of officers involved it’s a relatively low number of rounds per officer,” says Sparks Police Chief Brian Allen.

Another thing revealed within that article is that the cops who shot Kenneth Stafford that day were given awards for doing so, something that had been a fairly trendy practice with cases of questionable shootings for a while. That has kinda tailed off lately though, after it became a point of criticism, for what should be obvious reasons.

Note: This is the statement received from Kenneth Stafford’s mother with the only editing being some obvious spelling and punctuation mistakes and the insertion of paragraph breaks where appropriate. Any legal or factual claims made within the block quotes are solely attributable to Ms. Calgrove and have not been verified by anyone involved with or

Kenneth J. Stafford and his family

My son, SPC Kenneth J. Stafford, was being treated for PTSD at his duty station Joint Base Lewis McChord in Fort Lewis, Washington. He came home with his family on leave around the 4th of July, which was the 1 year anniversary of his brother in law’s murder that the police still haven’t solved. They are trying to say it was gang related, because of the area he lived in and the people he hung around.

My son and his family were pulled over a couple of times in the first week they where home and harassed by the Reno police, because they were in the area and the cops knew who they were. Then with the Travon Martin case and the fireworks my son kept getting angrier and angrier. I have never seen him so angry in his life. I didn’t know what PTSD was until he came home and I looked it up. Only because I asked his wife what was going on and she told me about it, but she said she didn’t know what it was either. Here she is living with him and seeing the changes in him and she didn’t know what it was.

He was in contact with his doctor for the first week he was here and things weren’t as bad as the last few days of his life. Then, his phone broke and he couldn’t call his doctor anymore. Prior to that, he was calling him four or five times a day. I told his wife she needed to call his Sergeant or doctor and let them know how bad he was getting and needed help, but she said she didn’t have the numbers. I told her to get on line and look them up on their phone bill. Then she said she didn’t want him mad at her. I told her do you want him mad at you or dead. She never called them.

Kenneth Stafford's Birthday was Aug. 17th
Kenneth Stafford’s Birthday was Aug. 17th

On the morning that he was killed July 11, 2013 he had been up for about 72 hours and was getting paranoid. He asked me for a gun. I told him I didn’t own one and asked him why he needed one. He said he wanted it for protection. I asked him protection from what and he just said, “do you have one or not?” I called the VA hospital to try to get help they told me because he wasn’t in their system we needed to bring him in or call the police and let them know what was going on and then they could bring him in. The VA convinced me the cops were trained and wouldn’t hurt him.

I called his wife and told her what they said she said he was calm and eating lunch and watching a movie with his girls.  However, 15 minutes later she called me and said he had a gun and that she had called 911. He didn’t threaten her with it was just showing it to her and she freaked out screaming and then he got mad and started walking down the street. The cops found him 3 blocks away in a backyard by himself.

I drove down to where they were and asked the cops to let me talk to him, but they wouldn’t let me. Instead, they lied to me and said there Sparks  Policewas a military negotiator with him. They asked me his name and race. I said, “he is mixed” and Deena a friend of  Kenny’s wife, Aimee, yelled “he’s black, they consider him black.” I didn’t understand why they would ask his race. A few minutes, later a cop ran up to me saying Kenny wanted a cigarette. Before the cop got halfway back with the cigarette, about 10 cops opened fired and shot and killed him.

The Washoe County Sheriff Office is the department handling the investigation. It has currently been over 10 months and we still haven’t got any answers. I don’t know if we ever will, but his wife is still calling three times a week. We are not going away. The army did a investigation, but they haven’t told us anything either. The cops keep telling us its an open investigation,but I don’t think they will ever close it because they knew they where in the wrong killing my son. I feel cops shouldn’t be investigating cops. We need that changed. We need a civilian investigation board. The VA needs to be able to help whether or not they are in their system. Wen people call for help they need help right away.

All we want is answers to why the cops feel they needed to kill him why then couldn’t of disarmed him tasered him or something else. The cops need to be retrained and held accountable for their actions. Something needs be be done and they need to be stopped they aren’t any better than a criminal.


  1. Doesn’t sound at all like a failure on the part of police, I mean the guy was having an episode and had a shotgun, that’s a disaster waiting to happen….hello every mass shooting that has occurred in the last few years. This sounds like a failure on the part of the guy’s caregivers, not unusual with military and VA doctors.

    What would you have had the officers do, allow the guy to fire off that shotgun? Let the guy kill a couple of people first?

    1. Really? And “That device was never used and officers say Stafford escalated his behavior “to the point of quickly turning towards the officers in the backyard in a manner such as to point the shotgun at them” doesn’t sound like a huge load of horseshit to you? Why didn’t he just say, “He pointed the shotgun at him”? I bet a careful review of the audio will show one shot, where a single cop got spooked, and then lots of sympathetic fire. Which now has to be justified somehow. Don’t be so freaking stupid.

      1. No, it doesn’t sound like a huge load of horseshit to me. It sounds like a description of what caused officers to fire their weapons. Why didn’t he just say he pointed the shotgun at him? Probably because the guy didn’t get the shotgun all the way up before officers fired at him.

        How much of a delay between shots does it take to determine what is a natural difference in reaction time and what is sympathetic fire?

        1. Well, then you’re freaking stupid. Sounds like the typical bullshit that gets slung while they’re still trying to find out if it’s on anybody’s video or not. Otherwise it would be a simple, “he attempted to point the weapon at officers”.

          1. You do realize that the only real difference between “he attempted to point the weapon at officers” and ” turning toward the officers in a manner such as to point the shotgun at them” is that the first denotes intent. The second statement, being the one they used, actually leaves their actions subject to scrutiny. If they used your statement, it would lend credence to the idea that they were attempting to cover up what they did. However, what they wrote is far more honest, essentially being a statement that the guy seemed like he was going to point the shotgun at them, instead of a claim that he was trying to point it at them.

          2. Wow. Read a few other accounts of cops shooting people because they pointed a weapon at them. You might be able to pick up a pattern or something. The ONLY reason it was phrased as it was is because they don’t yet know what’s on video. These days that kind of shit has a pesky habit of turning up after sworn statements are given. LOL, and we’re the ones called gullible sheep.

          3. Yeah, it couldn’t possibly have been phrased that way because that’s what actually happened, can it? It could ONLY have been phrased that way because it’s a cover for wrong doing, right?

          4. so any cop who points a weapon at a American is fair game ?

  2. You left out the part where he was armed with a shotgun.

    1. Yeah, which he intended to use on himself. So this is how the cops deal with suicidal people? By killing them? Listen to your “logic” for a second…..

      1. Or, as sometimes happens with the weak-willed, suicide by cop. Either way, Stafford had made a free will decision. No one made him obtain a shotgun. No one made him make threats, act irrational, and otherwise create a violent and dangerous situation.

        As CB said, he governed himself in that shed. He could have disarmed himself but decided not to. Instead, he exited and pointed a shotgun at others.

        Tragic yes,

        Unlawful no.
        Excessive no.

        1. If Stafford suffered from PTSD the free will decision is a stretch. I am very much for assessing by responsibility, accountability, and agency, but I do have to take into account mental states recognized as impairment. PTSD is one of those, as is severe depression. Free will is impaired by those states.

          However, I also have to take into account the mental state of the cops. He had a shotgun. That’s the most feared weapon at close quarters. If I think you’re going to use it on me I’m going to shoot you.

          Ultimately, this is why patrol officers should not be the first line on dealing with the mentally ill, or the blind, or deaf, or diabetics. It just doesn’t go well. I left an opportunity for a reasoned response.

          1. I would agree for the most part, but then who does go?

            Society has relied on the police for everything. Neighbor called you a bad name, call 911. Kid won’t go to school, call 911. Flat tire on the highway, call 911.

            Ambulance and medics won’t unless the scene is safe and this scene wasn’t safe. The VA has neither the manpower or the money. Had the PD had a tactical team, they should have been called, but that takes time.

            I dare say its up to the friends and family to have subjects who are in such circumstances involuntarily committed by court order.

          2. CS, it isn’t that cops shouldn’t be called but that their training is insufficent. Hell, sometimes it just comes down to impatience or worse “we have to do something, and this is something, so let’s do it”.

            Look up the story of the Hofstra twin that was killed by the cop that charged the situation rather than holding back. It was a bad call, Ripley, a bad call.

          3. It was tragic, but again, what the police do? It was a break-in with a hostage(s).

            You want the police to wait had it been your relative with a armed subject? Perhaps surround the house wait for a tactical team? What’s the worst that could happen in the hours to come?



            Even the girl who called 911 protested that the police needed to enter to stop the home invasion. He was no rookie either with 12 years at NYPD and 8 years at NCPD. Read the final review, its interesting how it tragically unfolded. Certainly not the “they rushed in; guns blazing” as some could perceive, especially when the door re-locked and trapped the officer inside with the suspect and his hostage(s).

            Somethings there is no “good/bad” option, only “bad/worse.”

          4. CS,
            Yes I would want them to wait. I would want them to try to defuse the situation. I would want them to try their level best to get the guy to calm down. I don’t want the mindset of “we have to do something, this is something, let’s do it” nor do I want the mindset of “we don’t have time for this shit, let’s end it”.

            “Even the girl who called 911 protested that the police needed to enter to stop the home invasion.” Not your finest argument.

            I never saw it as rushing in with guns blazing. The situation unfolded by the decisions the invader made and the decisions the cops made. Both are responsible for their decisions. The hostage that was killed was killed by the cop. The invader had only threatened…

            “Somethings there is no “good/bad” option, only “bad/worse.” Absolutely, except it’s “good/bad/worse”, it doesn’t separate into a dichotomy. I do know what you meant, but it’s a shifting scale not a dichotomy where “good” has some absolute meaning.

          5. Perhaps in certain situations that could be done and then again in others there is no calm resolution. Read there final report. Smith had no intention of surrender.

            Read the article how the hostage taker raped not one, but four young teens while the police and other hostages waited.

            Or like Columbine, where police waited, or even in NH where the escaped raped and killed the family and set the house on fire, while the police waited.

          6. We have no idea if Smith would have surrendered, we do know he wasn’t allowed to surrender. No time was taken to allow him the choice.

            “Read the article how the hostage taker raped not one, but four young teens while the police and other hostages waited.” But that’s not what Smith did. In fact, the only hostage he took that was killed wasn’t killed by him.

            Columbine was about killing, the killings started before the police got there and continued while they were there. It’s not applicable, but it did lead to a change in tactics easily summed up by “if they are killing people we have to go in”. Again, that isn’t what happened with Smith. He didn’t kill anyone.

            I’d don’t know a damn thing about “NH where the escaped raped and killed the family and set the house on fire, while the police waited.” so I can’t comment on it. But I will comment on this…

            We as a society in my lifetime have gone from at least some degree of rational perspective to an irrational perspective where the worst case has become the normative. And any worst case anecdote proves that normative.

        2. No, it’s not the same because the government made him that way. People suffering from mental illness aren’t totally responsible for their actions, and a soldier with PTSD needs even more support to deal with the horrors of what they’ve been through. You act like everyone should be treated the same way — sane people, insane people, those with PTSD caused by military service — all are simply “weak-willed”? Huh. Real human of you.

          1. You make it sound like he was ‘drafted’.

  3. Eight shots missed. One or more per officer? Or did one of them miss eight times? Is eight misses out of twenty-two “relatively low for that many officers” or kinda high?

    1. 5 cops fired at total of 22 rounds, about 4 rounds each.

      During a OIS shooting, given all the variables, the hit percentage is about 15-20%

      1. And they are 1/4 of the way matching those really nasty German Polizei who fire about 80 bullets in a year. The whole EU fires fewer bullets on an order of magnitude than American Police, and the population is about 100 million greater. And when I wrote fewer, it’s not even close. American Police fire roughly the same amount of bullets in one month as all the police in the EU do in a year (I may be off by a factor of 2 or 3, I did the calculation a ways back and am drawing from memory, but it was a horrendous difference).

        Given that EU cops should be just as afraid for their safety as American Cops, that does include significant injury, I’m at a loss as to why EU cops just don’t shoot people to the same degree American cops do.

        Edit: to take the hoary European factor out, Aussies or Kiwis don’t shoot like American Police. They don’t, even over cutlery. In fact Kiwis, in some circumstances, require the cop to make a public apology for his excessive behavior. The last I read was over excessive tasering. Yet they have no dearth of people wanting to be cops. Isn’t the world a wonderful place, even in the ex-British colonies?

        1. The US is a “gun” society.

          1. That’s is very true but that doesn’t justify police using the peppy little bromide of, I feared for my life without actually being able to say how. Nor does it justify the police taking the most extreme response like they did in the Bellotte V Edwards case. It was a qualified immunity hearing in which the police took a knock and announce and decided on a no-knock. I’ll give ya a teaser. They justified it by claiming the couple was armed. A couple with no records, complaints or prior run ins with the law. In other words, vestal virgins in the eyes of the law and still, the police rationalized their actions with, they were armed.

            AH, the mind of a cop who is always scared!

          2. Dam right it is. I have mine with me everywhere everyday just in case i come across a thug cop hope i never have to use it but at least its equal , Mono E Mono

          3. The problem is that your phrase “gun” society doesn’t actually explain the difference. Those 80 some odd shots includes guns and knives (and including warning shots). Don’t remember if it includes cars, but wasn’t there one incident in the US where more than 80 rounds were expended on a couple who turned out not to be armed?

            Your phrase explains little. How ’bout “trigger happy” society?

  4. More pigs the need to led to the slaughter house

      1. Yea cops are our friends huh. In the past yes mostly , now never.

  5. More copblock bullshit. The guy was suicidal and had a gun. He would not put the gun down when told to. He then pointed it at the police. Get the story straight.

    1. Funny to hear you talk about bullshit, you lying motherfucker. What are you this week, slaps? Astronaut? CIA Agent? Fighter Pilot? LOL, fucking douchebag.

      1. Oh look, it’s keepitreal. Are you still going to the Crown nightclub in Las Vegas? I believe you still are. How’s the weather out there? Are you still telling people you live in Burbank or Silicon Valley? Especially since you live in Las Vegas. I’m looking at your address right now. Keep up your lies. They are collapsing on you.

    2. More bullshit from the “the thugs are never wrong”” brigade!..The thugs are in it to abuse/murder/beat etc and bring in revenue!..To be “cleared” by their own on its own is corruption at best!They get “paid vacations”..pat on the shoulder for murder and then rewarded for their “”bravery””and all it is cowards acting cowardly!!We have a guy who is a hero fighting for freedom..freedom to get murdered by low IQ’ed thugs!

      1. Most activists don’t like the military or those who serve in it. Why are you being a hypocrite. Second, he had a shotgun and pointed it at the PD. TO actually think the police or thugs for shooting someone who was very unstable and pointing a gun at them is ludicrous at best.

        1. JC, where is her reference to the military? How is a civilian police force the same as the military?

          1. She said, “!We have a guy who is a hero fighting for freedom..freedom to get murdered by low IQ’ed thugs”! Again, activists like to be hypocrites. I have never said the civilian and military PD are the same.

          2. Yet you made an allusion to it in your first sentence. There was simply no reason to bring up the military in the context of her quote. That you take exception to who she considers a hero, and I take that same exception but likely farther than you do, isn’t a justification to bring up the military.

            I was in the military, if civilian police had to live and work under the UCMJ, bringing up the military might have had meaning. Police live in the civilian world because they are civilians. It’s two separate worlds, there is no connection. When police, or apologists, try to make that connection it should be repudiated swiftly with prejudice.

          3. Again, you have no argument so you come up with this BS? The article is full of BS like you. He had a shotgun and pointed it at the police. I could care less if you were in the military or not. It means nothing to me. You are having too many flashbacks. Show me where I brought up the military.

          4. Go to your first comment to Yvonne. You brought it up there!

          5. Yep. But he’ll deny it over and over again. I do notice he has no respect for anyone that served in the military by using the argument (actually a non-argument ad hominem) of “You are having too many flashbacks.”

            You’re right, it’s slappy.

        2. oh because the cops CLAIM he pointed it at them its the absolute truth? yea, because not like cops have ever lied before right? I bet you still believe the Gulf Of Tonkin incident wasnt caused by our own government and that The Fast and Furious incident is all just a conspiracy dont you? ignorant dipshit.

          1. Even the his family said he was armed. For you to paranoid your way down the food chain doesn’t surprise me.

    3. Get your story straight, you lying freaking douche.

  6. Wait…..the entire story is about the police doing it right.
    Why is this here?

    1. Doing it right? That’s your opinion, not shared by most. “t” with no photo – are you one of those involved, trying to whitewash this and hide your own identity?

  7. Fucking sickening. Fucking disgraceful. And I’m not just referring to the actions of the thugs in blue, but also the two idiots below who support them…

  8. cops need to be disarmed

  9. if pointing a loaded weapon at someone is immediate cause for killing them

    then what about all the cops pointing their weapons in Furgeson ?

    are the cop apologist making the case that Americans SHOULD immediately shoot to kill a manic cop who points his weapon ?

    are the cop apologists really trying to maje this argument ?

  10. This was my soldier. I called him my 3rd squad all star. As an E-2 I already had him rounding up my guys for whatever we had to do that day. Relied on him pretty heavily for the daily army activities that where threw at us. Pushed for his waiver for SPC because he deserved it well above everyone else. I got out, contracted in Iraq where I got to work one hangar over from his. So I got to B.S. with him almost everyday. Stafford was a great soldier. Damn right he was. I was devestated when I heard about it. Not a day goes by that I don’t think him. (Formerly) SGT Lynch 1-229th.

    1. Thank you for your service and defending our great nation , and for sharing something i already figured was true of him being a great soldier , PTSD is something we all as a nation can help others with friends and neighbors need to reach out a bit more. god Bless America

      1. Oh, the hypocrisy. The achingly predictable hypocrisy.

  11. So it’s okay to hate on cops, but not soldiers policing in foreign nations in endless middeast wars?
    Especially absurd considering that a large population of police officers are ex-soldiers, many who served in the post 9/11 conflicts.
    And then you start spewing the mindless propaganda campaign that they’re “heroes” and “fighting for our freedom”…those are just meaningless words coming out of people’s mouths, repeated again and again (they say the same things about Cops too, y’know). The military is involved with just as many atrocities and human rights abuses as police departments, if not more.
    I think people are too PC and afraid to admit the truth, that the troops are just as problematic as the police, because they are fingers on the same hand.

    This past new year’s, of friend of mine was raped in her own apt by an off-duty soldier from JBLM, a guy who fed on “thank you for your service” ego-worship and automatic social hero-status that comes with being a soldier. An affluent Army engineer, with PTSD from god knows what. Him and several other JBLM soldiers in the neighborhood ended up getting in drunken fight and threatening civilians before he later went to the girl’s room. Oh, And the police let him walk. Such cases are not uncommon, most soldiers are fucked once you look past the surface, if they treated you pampered US civilians the way they treat civilians in other countries you would absolutely flip your shit.

    Stop calling these guys “heroes” because they are NOT heroes, they are NOT improving quality of life here or in the conflict zones, nothing has really changed since 9/11. Aesthetics and word-mincing aside, They are no different than police in ghettoized regions, theyre just international ghetto police. They didn’t stop terrorism, they cannot and will not uphold our freedom or keep our rights from being stripped from us.
    And if given the order to subjugate us as they’ve been trained to do, they WILL obey and treat us just as poorly as the cops. Because they are essentially no different once you get past the language trickery and excuses.

  12. I was a sparks police officer and hostage negotiator. I was very upset by this as I have inside information that ken was holding a pole down at his side the officers later staged the scene putting the shotgun in the area and removing the pole. One of the officers had a very difficult time. Probably his conscience more than anything. I went to the DAs and told them about the problems with the Sgts to Lts and the patrol commanders. Soon after I was being called into chiefs office and patrol officers were ticketing my parked vehicles. My family members were pulled over. Apparently I hit a nerve. Needless to say sparks police are very dangerous. I have seen fellow officers brake teenagers arms and when I tell supervisors I was told dont worry an dont try to get “great” “officers” in trouble as your career will end. It did and I FLED the city. SPD is a bunch of thugs and they all talk about killing citizens all the time. I say leave. You cannot fight them it goes way to high up. I’m very sorry for the loss of this young man negotiations should have gone as long as necessary as he was alone in a shed with no one around. The officers forced that situation and you should sue each and every one including the chief

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