Reported by ABC
LITTLEROCK, Calif. (KABC) — The widow of an elderly man shot to death by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in the Antelope Valley is filing a lawsuit.
Tonya Pate, 48, is seeking $50 million in damages from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after detectives raided her Littlerock home during the morning of June 27 and fatally shot her 80-year-old husband, Eugene Mallory.
“I am here today to tell you how much I love and miss Gene every day. He was a hardworking, gentle, loving, kind man. He never harmed anybody,” said Pate.
Her lawyers filed a wrongful death claim alleging that narcotic detectives suspected methamphetamine was being cooked on the property, and, armed with a search warrant, busted into the retired Lockheed engineer’s home unannounced and shot him dead in his bed. No meth was found.
“All we know is we have a dead innocent man — a law-abiding, high security clearance gentleman, electrical engineer, fixture in the community dead, leaving a grieving widow…no evidence of any meth ever on that property,” said attorney Mark Algorri.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials say while detectives did not find meth on the 80-year-old man’s property, they did find other drugs and two weapons. They claim the man pointed one of the weapons at detectives, forcing them to shoot him.
“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,” said Steve Whitmore with the sheriff’s department. “The gentleman pointed a semiautomatic weapon at our deputies, and deputies fearing for their safety as well as others, instigated deadly force.”
Pate says her 22-year-old son from another relationship lives in a trailer on the couple’s property and uses medical marijuana for a health issue. Pate’s lawyer said only a small amount of medical marijuana was found on the property.
The sheriff’s department says an investigation into the shooting continues.