“It helps to look before shooting,” suggested Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P. “It may save wrongful death lawsuits, such as this one, in which the family of the deceased is seeking $20 million in damages for the death of their husband, son and father.”
The 36-year-old deceased was shot to death by members of a SWAT team, and the family alleges he was shot without cause, while in a parking lot visiting with friends. Evidently, the police received a 911 call about someone with a gun. The police responded, and ended up shooting the man, as they state they were threatened with a gun. “In reality,” explained Schuelke, “the gun was a BB rifle the man bought for his son.”
The family and other witnesses suggest the man did not threaten the police with the BB rifle and he was not a danger to them. They suggest the police had their minds made up when they arrived that the man was a danger given his Hispanic origin. However, a neighbor in the area suggested the man may have been shooting out street lights.
When the police arrived, they apparently ran down an alley, in full SWAT gear with assault rifles, turned the corner and found the man near the steps in a small common area. What happened next is not clear, and may never be. However, whatever did happen resulted in the man being shot twice. Officers did attempt to revive him by performing CPR. He died at the scene.
What happened may never be completely understood, but because the police reacted to a perceived threat, a man is dead. This begs the question of how closely they looked at the man and his ‘weapon,’ whether or not they talked to him, asked him to hand over the rifle or if they took anytime to assess the situation, other than noting it was a rifle of some type.
“These questions are likely to find their way into court. Will the outcome favour the deceased’s family? Tough question, as much hinges on the details of what happened between the time the police arrived and the time the man was shot. This encompasses mere seconds and apparently no one has a clear accounting of what triggered the shooting,” said Austin injury lawyer Schuelke. Further information provided by the police includes the dead man had a drug record and was sentenced to three years probation. He was also ordered to take a drug program.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
1717 W. 6th Street, Suite 375
Austin, Texas 78703-4868
Call (512) 476-4944