Woman files wrongful death suit after officer fatally shot son

A mother filed a lawsuit against two Pittsburgh police officers who allegedly wrongfully shot her son to death in March 2009. Now, that lawsuit has been tentatively settled, though the financial details of the settlement have not been disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement.

The woman filed the federal lawsuit five years ago, alleging that a state Trooper and a Pittsburgh officer wrongfully shot the boy after bars were emptying following St. Patrick’s Day festivities. The officers say that the man was drunk and under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident, and that he had an extensive criminal record. An autopsy was conducted and toxicology tests revealed that he was drunk and had Xanax, morphine and cocaine metabolites in his system. The lawsuit was filed before this information came to light.

Also, the man had escaped from and attacked police in the past. Officers claim that they only shot the man after he tried to hit officers with his vehicle during a chase. Both officers fired at the man, but the autopsy revealed that the state Trooper was responsible for the bullet that killed him. The state Trooper was also involved in a 2008 lawsuit, where a Federal court jury determined that he wrongfully shot and killed an unarmed 12-year-old boy. The suit settled for $12.5 million.

A motion has been filed for a judge to approve the tentative settlement and the payment of attorney’s fees. The woman’s wrongful death suit was filed on behalf of her son’s three children. Once the settlement is approved by the court, Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know law requires state police to disclose the financial terms of the settlement. While no amount of money can bring back their lost loved one, family members can finally start to move forward now that the case is settled.

Source: NBC 10, “Mother Tentatively Settles Lawsuit, Claims Son Was Shot By Trooper,” Oct. 14, 2014