LOS ANGELES – The sons of a man who was fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies after he stabbed an elderly woman sued Los Angeles County and two sheriff’s deputies Monday for wrongful death, alleging in federal court that the use of deadly force was “excessive and unreasonable.”
According to the complaint, Charles Towns, 47, of Pasadena was having a mental health episode around 5:15 p.m. on Jan. 22 when multiple Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies responded to the area of Woodbury Road and Fair Oaks Avenue in Altadena for a report of a male threatening people with a metal object.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Carlos Towns and his 17-year-old brother, contends that deputies watched as Towns walked into a residential area toward unsuspecting civilians.
An LASD report stated that Towns then stabbed an elderly female in the face with scissors, and attempted to stab another person when the deputy-involved shooting occurred. At that point, LASD Deputy Eliezer Morales opened fire and Towns fell to the ground, but “got up, and advanced toward deputy personnel as the shooting continued,” the report alleged.
The second defendant officer, LASD Deputy Clarissa Prentice, allegedly shot Towns with gunfire that “penetrated Mr. Towns’ abdomen area from top to bottom, traveled just underneath his skin and exited his groin,” according to the lawsuit.
LASD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The plaintiffs allege that as he was being shot, Towns was ordered by Morales “not to move,” but when his body reacted to being hit with gunfire, “Morales resumed shooting.” Prentice continued shooting at near point-blank range, and Morales “literally had to push her gun down to stop her from shooting more,” the suit alleges.
The complaint contends that the deputies shot Towns “although his empty hands were clearly visible on both body-cam footages. Both deputies executed him.”
The body-cam footage has been released.
Towns died at the scene, according to LASD.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages from the defendants, including Sheriff Robert Luna and former Sheriff Alex Villanueva, for allegedly violating Towns’ civil rights in connection with the fatal use force.
The California Department of Justice is investigating the case for potential criminal liability, according to the agency’s website.
Excessive- really??? Am an educated moderate Dem, value life, and worked as as a speech pathologist in the 1990s and 2000s in group homes, schools, and hospitals with some very disabled people so am sensitive to the disabled. However, this suit is absurd. What were officers to do after he stabbed a person in the face, huh? The outcome is sad but they had to stop him, particularly when he contined to advance on them. Mental illness is no excuse for not protecting the public. If this attitude continues, it will be impossible to recruit law enforcement. IMHO, watch out for what you ask for.
I got caught in this on the 210 fwy near Lincoln and chp is the one following not sheriff so sue chp plus he put my life at risk because he got so close to my car