Last updated: 6 months ago
The family of an Azusa man shot to death by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy has been awarded $2 million by a federal jury.
After a day and a half of deliberations, the jury Monday awarded the money to Mara Eva Gutierrez and Dionico Lara, the parents of Efrain Lara Gutierrez. The jury rejected the defense that the deputy feared for his life from a man with a knife.
Gutierrez, 31, was shot several times by Deputy David Salazar on Oct. 2, 2009, as the deputy investigated possible break-ins to vehicles involving two suspects. Gutierrez died at the scene.
The four-woman, four-man jury in downtown Los Angeles found that the deputy used excessive and unreasonable force when he shot Gutierrez five times.
“He was shot in the back,” said Dale Galipo, the family’s lawyer. “But just as importantly, we were able to show to jurors that the deputy wasn’t near him. The blood trail is 26 feet long. He was running away, not toward, the deputy when he was shot.”
The department asserted that Salazar fired because Gutierrez was armed with a knife and just a few feet from the deputy when he turned and threatened him. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office agreed with that assertion and did not file charges against the deputy.
October 2013 $2million settlement