Nevada district attorney clears officers in fatal shooting of man who went on rampage with chainsaw

Oct 18, 2023, 1:10 PM

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Nevada district attorney cleared two police officers of any criminal wrongdoing on Wednesday after they fatally shot a man who went on a rampage with a chainsaw at a Motel 6 three years ago.

Ronal Zendejas, 36, of Sparks, cut through doors and swung the running blade at employees and a guest before he fled the motel parking lot in a Honda Accord, according to the 42-page investigative report. He drove toward the officers, hit a police cruiser and crashed into two buildings before he tried to flee again and officers shot him four times, according to the report.

Based on the evidence, District Attorney Chris Hicks said officers Thomas Radley and Adrian Berumen shooting Zendejas “was justified and not a criminal act.”

Reno police conducted the investigation into the officer-involved shooting in neighboring Sparks. At the time, Radley had served 15 years on the force and Berumen five.

Zendejas had rented a room at the motel on May 4, 2020. The motel’s general manager said Zendejas was rude, aggressive and appeared drunk, punching two windows in the front office before leaving and returning even angrier, according to the report. He left again but returned minutes later with a running chainsaw, cutting through a swinging door as the desk manager locked himself in a bathroom and the general manager fled to his motel apartment, the report said.

Zendejas then contacted a guest in a neighboring room, swung the chainsaw toward him and cut through the room’s door and door handle, according to the report.

Police arrived as Zendejas was preparing to drive off. They ordered him to show his hands, but he refused and sped away before striking a metal street sign, according to the report. He reversed his vehicle, struck the patrol vehicle and crashed into a nearby car wash before the officers caught up to him again. He then crashed into a nearby smog shop.

After Zendejas refused the officers’ orders again, they fired their weapons, according to the report. His vehicle crashed a third time, and the officers found him slumped over in the driver’s seat. An autopsy determined the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

“Unless new circumstances come to light that contradict the factual foundation upon which this decision was made, this case is officially closed,” Hicks said in a statement Wednesday.

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Nevada district attorney clears officers in fatal shooting of man who went on rampage with chainsaw