Sheriff's Office

PR #:
Date Issued:
Aug 16, 2021 - 3:37PM

For Immediate Release

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office detectives charge suspect for actions leading to SPD officer involved shooting

Case Number:
Sarah Johns
Washoe County Sheriff's Office
Office: 775-785-6235
Cell: 775-391-0407

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office detectives continue to lead the regional investigation of the August 4, 2021, Sparks Police Department officer involved shooting.

Today detectives booked the suspect in the incident, Adam Barton, 30, of Sparks, with five felony counts for the actions which took place in the moments immediately before the shooting.

Preliminary findings indicate Sparks Police officers responded to Victorian Avenue near the RTC Centennial Plaza shortly before 11:00 p.m. on reports of an Assault with a Deadly Weapon using a firearm in progress.

Through interviews, intelligence gathering, and the review of video evidence detectives have determined Barton approached a man and his ten-year-old daughter who were at the transit center, and who were unknown to Barton. Barton pressed the gun into the man’s side while grabbing and holding him. At some point, the men separated from one another, and the victims began to walk away. Barton is seen on video approaching the father and daughter two more times, with the daughter ducking and taking cover behind a metal box at RTC Centennial Plaza.

Sparks Police officers responded within minutes of the initial call for service and located Barton in the crosswalk of Victorian Avenue and Victorian Plaza Circle. Officers began repeated communications with Barton in attempts to get Barton to show his handsOfficers observed he had a handgun in his hand, and they continued verbal commands as Barton moved away from them towards civilians who were in the area for a special event.  Moments later the officer involved shooting occurred. 

Barton was booked into the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office on August 13, 2021, for one felony count of violating probation. On August 16th WCSO detectives booked Barton for Battery with a Deadly Weapon by a Prisoner, Probationer, or Parolee; Assault with a Deadly Weapon; Resisting a Public Officer with use of a Firearm; Owning or Possession of a Gun by a Prohibited Person; and Carrying a Concealed Explosive, Pneumatic Gun, Firearm, or Dangerous Weapon without a Permit.

This is the extent of the charges deemed appropriate for all parties involved in this incident.


The Washoe County Sheriff's Office is dedicated to preserving a safe and secure community with professionalism, respect, integrity and the highest commitment to equality. Sheriff Darin Balaam is the 27th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County since the Office was created in 1861. The Washoe County Sheriff's Office strives to ensure public safety by building trust and creating partnerships within the diverse communities in which we serve. We will promote the dignity of all people supported by our words and actions through open communication while fostering an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect.


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