Washoe County Sheriff’s detectives identify man shot by Sparks police officer

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Washoe County Sheriff’s detectives have identified the man who was shot by a Sparks police officer earlier this month.

The man, identified as 38-year-old Joseph Patrick Williams, was taken to an area hospital for treatment at the time of the shooting, according to a news release on Wednesday.

Authorities said the shooting, which occurred May 5, stemmed from a report of a larceny at a business in the 1600 block of Victorian Avenue.

When Sparks police officers arrived at the scene, they saw a man getting into a vehicle and driving away. They then attempted to pull him over, but he fled—leading the officers on a car chase through the industrial area east of Sparks, authorities said.

The officers reported hearing a noise that sounded like gunfire, authorities said in the news release.

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At one point, Williams reportedly drove through a fence to elude police. He eventually worked his way onto the eastbound lanes on I-80.

Authorities said he kept driving despite running over a spike strip that was placed on the roadway by troopers with the Nevada Highway Patrol.

 “At approximately 12:56 a.m. the incident escalated to an officer involved shooting on the freeway near mile marker 41,” investigators said in the news release.

None of the officers involved were hurt and no other injuries were reported.

Williams has since been released from the hospital and was booked into the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Detention Facility. He faces a charge of felony eluding.

Authorities have released few details on the events that led up to the shooting.

“The incident is still under investigation, we’ll release more information as it becomes available,” said Bob Harmon, spokesman for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office is also working with investigators from the Reno Police Department and the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the sheriff’s Detective Division at 775-328-3320 or Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.

Marcella Corona is a breaking news reporter who covers crime and justice in Northern Nevada. Support her work by subscribing to RGJ.com.

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