Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Botched raid? Police kill 80 year old in bed, widow sues

Eugene Mallory

Eugene Mallory

Tonya Pate, the widow of Palmdale, California, man Eugene Mallory, 80, is suing the L.A. County sheriff’s and coroner’s departments for the June 27, 2013, death of her husband at the hands of raiding police.

Early on the morning in question detectives raided Mallory’s property after reporting the smell associated with methamphetamine manufacture and obtaining the proper warrant, according to the sheriff’s department. The retired Lockheed Martin engineer was still asleep when police entered.

Detectives said that Mallory raised a gun to fire at them and they pumped six rounds into Mallory, killing him. Steve Whitmore, a representative from the department told reporters, “Age does not preclude somebody from being aggressive toward deputies. The lesson here is, and obviously forgive me for stating the obvious, but don’t pull a gun on a deputy.”

Pate, 48, says he did no such thing, “He would never point a gun at officers.” According to his wife, Mallory had bad eyesight and couldn’t have correctly identified the men as officers without his glasses.

No evidence of any meth operation was ever uncovered on the property, but police did find marijuana. Again, here the stories differ. Whitmore told the media, “The truth of the matter is it was a narcotics search warrant. And what did they find on the premises? They found marijuana and they found a full grow operation that was producing the marijuana on site. The gentleman pointed a semiautomatic weapon at our deputies, and deputies fearing for their safety as well as others, instigated deadly force.”

Pate says they only found a little medical marijuana for personal and legal use by her son.

While the sheriff’s department continues their investigation, Pate has decided to sue for the wrongful death of her husband to the tune of $50 million.

Given her husband’s advanced age, Pate may not see nearly that much in compensation, but she has the definitely gotten county’s attention.

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