LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The family of a man accidentally killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy during a standoff four years ago has reached a $14.35-million settlement with the county.
Frank Mendoza, 54, was shot at the front door of his Pico Rivera home by the deputy as they searched for armed parolee Cedric Ramirez on Aug. 1, 2014.
Family attorney Garo Mardirossian said the settlement is a record for the county. He added he believed a jury would have awarded the family $25 million, but they chose not to go through the ordeal of a trial. The settlement was announced earlier this year, but the amount was not disclosed.
Still, the family said no amount of money will ever be enough for losing their patriarch. “The money doesn’t really mean anything,” Frank Mendoza Jr. told reporters Monday. “I would take my father over anything.”
The senior Mendoza was killed after Ramirez, 24, shot at officers as they attempted to take him into custody. Ramirez hid behind the Mendozas’ home on the 9000 block of Rosehedge Drive. He ended up breaking into the home through a window. Deputies entered the home looking for Ramirez, finding Mendoza, his wife and their two children inside. The deputies then left without telling them how to evacuate, according to the family’s lawsuit.
Most of Mendoza’s family managed to escape after Ramirez entered the home, but the known gang member took Mendoza’s wife Lorraine Munoz hostage, it was reported at the time. The father and grandfather was shot twice — in the head and leg — as he attempted to leave through his front door. He died from his wounds on his front porch.
The lawsuit claimed the deputies were negligent in leaving the family alone in their home.
Three hours after Mendoza was killed and after refusing Ramirez’s demands, deputies entered the home, shooting and killing the parolee. Munoz was taken to a local hospital and listed in good condition, it was reported.
“Believing he was an immediate threat to his partners, the deputy fired twice, striking the man and falling to the floor just inside the front door,” acting sheriff John Scott said at the time. “Tragically, it was Mr. Mendoza.”
Frank Mendoza Jr. said he did not hold any ill will towards the deputies. “I can understand they are here to serve and they’re here to protect, it’s just, that day it just didn’t go their way,” he said.
The deputy, who was a six-year veteran with LASD at the time, is still employed by the agency, however, he is not assigned to field duty.
In May, the county agreed to pay nearly $12 million to the wife a man stuck and killed by a cruiser while the deputy was texting.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)