A smoke shop owner drew a compact semi-automatic pistol and opened fire when three figures wearing hoodies rushed in. He’s now being charged with murder.
A Las Vegas smoke shop clerk told police he feared for his life when three teenagers rushed his store in hoodies.
Raad Sunna, 24, faces one count of open murder for fatally shooting one of the teens, 13-year-old Fabriccio Patti, on Dec. 2 inside Lucky Cigars and Smokes. Police learned the following day that Fabriccio had been shot seven times, with all of the entrance wounds on his back.
“I was petrified beyond comprehension,” Sunna said during an interrogation played in court Friday. He said he did not know whether the boys were armed. “So I drew and fired.”
In a series of surveillance videos, which were not accompanied by audio, Sunna was shown firing his weapon at the boy, who appeared to be running away before he collapsed on the floor of the shop near the entrance. The shop is located at 8665 W. Flamingo Road.
Still armed, Sunna walked past a supine and motionless Fabriccio, wearing a blue hoodie, as the others fled the store. Sunna stepped outside briefly, before returning with his gun in his left hand and a phone in the other.
Homicide Detective Dolphis Boucher asked Sunna why he fired at Fabriccio.
“He was the one coming toward me first,” Sunna said. “I felt my life was in danger. … I was afraid of dying.”
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Karen Bennett listened to the 911 call Sunna placed immediately after the killing, watched surveillance video of the shooting and determined that prosecutors had enough evidence to present a murder charge to a jury.
Defense attorney Dominic Gentile argued that prosecutors had not proved that Sunna acted willfully or with “malice aforethought” before shooting Fabriccio.
“There is nothing that has been submitted to support premeditation or deliberation,” Gentile told Bennett. “Nothing. Nothing.”
Having studied the video, I think the prosecutors have bitten off more than they can chew, but that doesn’t mean they lack a path to a conviction.
Let’s go to the video.
Now the breakdown.
Sunna sees the suspects rush in the door and makes the decision to draw his weapon at about 0:06 in the video. Fabriccio Patti, the first to rush in, hops over some boxes at the end of the counter, and appears to look up at about 0:07 (above). The other suspect is rushing the opposite end of the U-shaped counter. Both are moving at speed. It appears that Sunna has made his decision to fire at this point, and is in the act of pulling the trigger, aimed at Patti.
Patti apparently saw Sunna’s weapon as he leaped, and as soon as he hit the ground he begins to turn away (above), just as Sunna appears to fire the first round. Sunna fires again as Patti is still turning, two shots in less than a second at the 0.08-second mark. At least these two shots are perfectly defensible, as he made the decision to fire as Patti was still coming forward and was focusing on the gun.
Likewise, I think what appears to be the third round, fired at 0:09 (above), is also perfectly defensible if he is focusing on his front sight and is only seeing Patti’s shape as an indistinct blur. We’re still less than two seconds into the robbery, and Sunna is still reacting to Patti and his partner rushing the counter.
Sunna continues to fire, and Patti starts to drop behind the end of he counter (above). There are still two threats inside the store, and I believe that Sunna can justify firing these shots as well, if he can/did articulate that he through Patti was was merely moving to a more advantageous position and he thought that one or more of the three suspects was armed.
At 0.10 (above), PAtti is finally down or about to be down. Sunna is still firing, and I still don’t have a problem with him shooting, as he is taking in information, processing it, and in the process of making the decision to stop shooting.
Let me be very, very clear on this point: police officers and regular civilians alike are regularly given what I can best describe as a “grace period” to let their mind catch up with with the changing circumstances and come off the trigger. It is very easy to potentially fire off additional rounds in the time it takes to realize that the threat has suddenly ceased to be a threat, and to get your finger off the trigger. Even now, I’d opine that every single round is justified, but he should be processing the even and getting his proverbial foot on the brake and get his finger off the trigger.
And he does.
That was the last shot fired by Raad Sunna, who then ducks, quickly scans, and then goes forward to check out Patti and rule him and his accomplices—who have since run off—as a threat as he has a phone in one hand and the gun in the other.
I watch a lot of dash camera, body camera, and security camera footage of violent crimes and self-defense. It’s my job, and I’ve certainly seen more thousand of them in the past three years alone, and I’ve done frame-by-frame break-downs of dozens of videos (just like what you’re reading now). I’ve put a lot of time (400+ hours) into defensive firearms courses, and thousands of hours of reading and research and listening to expert opinions from people with far more experience than I.
All those experiences have given me a certain perspective, and maybe some small degree of credibility for what I’m about to say.
There’s not a prosecutor in the country who would have gone after a law enforcement officer who fired upon Fabriccio Patti in these exact same circumstances. In the context of event, all seven rounds were justified as Sunna thought he was being charged by multiple suspects from two directions, and he made the decision to take down the closer and more immediate threat.
I’m also fairly confident that if the person being the trigger was named Irv Goldstein or Tiffany Wentworth, we’d likewise be seeing no charges filed here in a case of what should be regarded as lawful armed self-defense.
Unfortunately, Raad Sunna isn’t an elderly Jewish man or a basic white girl from Reno. Raad Sunna is a little darker, maybe a little brown, and maybe, just maybe, he looks a little bit like George Zimmerman to Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Karen Bennett and overzealous prosecutors inclined to hang someone out to dry for shooting a 13-year-old in the back 7 times.
I do not see an “open murder” here, which under Nevada law is First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter or Involuntary Manslaughter.
This was a case of a man suddenly rushed by a trio of robbers thinking he was under a potential lethal force attack drawing his weapon and discharging rounds until the primary threat went away, and then ceasing fire. Under NRS 200.120, Raad Sunna’s shooting of Fabriccio Patti should be considered a justifiable homicide.
This charge should never have been filed, and I hope Sunna’s attorney will call a self-defense expert like Massad Ayoob to shred this utterly absurd case.
I feel pity for Patti’s family, but his criminal acts justified this shooting.
Raad Sunna is getting screwed.