Son sent to prison for pointing loaded gun at sheriff’s captain
February 7, 2012
The son of a Douglas County sheriff’s captain was sentenced Tuesday to three years in Nevada State Prison for pointing a loaded gun at his father who was intervening in a child custody dispute.
Matthew Aymami must serve a minimum of 12 months before he is eligible for parole.
“I apologize to everyone for my inexcusable behavior, especially my son whom I love more than anything in the world,” the 26-year-old said in a statement he read to Judge Dave Gamble.
He pleaded guilty in November to attempted assault with a deadly weapon. In exchange for the plea, a charge of child abuse or neglect with a deadly weapon was dropped.
On July 12, Aymami pointed a loaded Kimber .45-caliber handgun at his father, David, and refused to put the gun down. The incident occurred while the defendant was holding his now 3-year-old son. There were no injuries.
The incident took place at David Aymami’s house after Matthew Aymami had been served with a restraining order by his wife. The couple is in the process of divorcing.
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Armed officers entered the room with loaded and drawn weapons.
Matthew Aymami struggled against his father and the officers as they attempted to disarm him while holding the child to his body and refusing to release him when the officers tried to move the little boy to safety.
“I allowed my mind to become captivated by my emotions,” Matthew Aymami said. “No punishment could ever come close to losing my son.”
District Judge Dave Gamble said what would have been a civil, domestic dispute was elevated to a crime by Aymami’s use of firearms.
“You cannot threaten someone with a firearm in this community and not go to prison, not as long as I live here,” Gamble said. “The introduction of deadly weapons into this offense, I cannot ignore.”
Gamble said he agreed with defense attorney Tod Young’s assessment that Matthew Aymami suffered a breakdown, but he was also concerned about the effect on Aymami’s son.
“My mind just can’t conceive of a 3-year-old boy watching his father and grandfather fighting over a gun,” Gamble said.
Prosecuting attorney Maria Pence said the child had been “basically diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder,” and was undergoing counseling.
“Somebody did get hurt. Somebody is seriously, emotionally damaged. It will take a specialist to assist in reunification so (the victim) won’t be retraumatized,” Pence said.
Young said Aymami had no intention of shooting his father. He said Aymami and the little boy’s mother had an eight-year history of turbulence.
He said he wasn’t minimizing the offense, but Aymami behaved like a cornered animal.
“I completely believe Capt. Aymami that he never thought Matt was going to shoot him. He didn’t shoot his dad. It has to still be horrible for both of them. He made a really horrible decision. He exposed (the child) to really horrible danger, but he didn’t shoot anybody,” Young said.
He said Aymami was undergoing counseling, working and complying with all requirements of the alternative sentencing department.
“He’s built himself back up. He’s undergoing counseling, he’s working, he’s doing everything we expect people to do when they are placed on probation,” Young said, requesting a suspended sentence.
“Let him continue – not start – to show you, his father, his child, this community that he’s not a bad guy,” Young said.
Gamble said there were communities where a weapons offense would not result in prison, but Douglas County wasn’t one of them.
“Just how awful it is to pull a firearm on somebody, is simply outside the scope of civil behavior,” Gamble said. “That’s what you’re being sentenced for. I would be doing Mr. Aymami a disservice if I did not.”
He gave Aymami credit for 43 days in custody, but did not count his time on house arrest against his sentence.