Reno police shooting victim was Lewis-McChord soldier

RENO, Nev. - A 27-year-old man shot to death by police in Reno last week was an active-duty U.S. Army soldier stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord who earned medals in Iraq.

The Reno Gazette-Journal reports Kenneth Stafford was an enlisted soldier on leave visiting family in Nevada when he was shot and killed July 11 in a confrontation with Reno and Sparks police.

The officers, who were unharmed, are on paid administrative leave while the Washoe County sheriff's office investigates.

A 2003 graduate of Washoe High School, Stafford enlisted in the Army in 2009. The helicopter mechanic was deployed in Iraq from February to December 2011.

Lt. Col. Joe Sowers of the 7th Infantry Division told the newspaper Stafford was in good standing in his assignment as a specialist to the 1st Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment at Fort Lewis. He said Stafford was awarded two Army Commendation medals and two Army Achievement medals in Iraq.

Sparks police responded to a report of a suicidal man with a gun on the city's north side about 1:40 p.m. on July 11 and Reno police soon joined in a search for the suspect.

Police say they located Stafford in the backyard of home where the owners didn't know him and the shooting soon followed.