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October 30, 2002 - Psychiatric patient was hit 31 times

The family of a mentally ill man who was shot 31 times by San Diego police outside a candy store in the Sports Arena area has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the county. The suit contends the city is at fault because a police officer violated department policy when he took the man, 24-year-old Alejandro Jimenez of El Cajon, to the nearby county psychiatric hospital and dropped him off outside on March 22. The suit also contends that the county hospital was negligent because doctors released Jimenez from the hospital about 12 hours before the shooting instead of hospitalizing him for treatment.

The suit was filed by Jimenez's widow, Maria, in San Diego Superior Court Friday. It alleges civil rights violations, wrongful death and other claims, and seeks unspecified damages. In August, District Attorney Paul Pfingst ruled the shooting justified. In to a letter to San Diego Police Chief David Bejarano summarizing the shooting, Pfingst said officers rightfully feared for their lives from a combative Jimenez.

Police shot Jimenez during a confrontation in a parking lot at 3751 Rosecrans St. Police were called there by a janitor who saw Jimenez banging on the window of a See's Candies store with a broomstick. Two officers drew their weapons and ordered Jimenez to drop the broomstick, Pfingst's letter said. Jimenez complied but then resisted when they tried to arrest him. Police used pepper spray, batons, nunchakus, an electronic stun dart and a bean-bag shotgun as the conflict escalated. None had any apparent affect on Jimenez, who continued to fight. He was shot when he grabbed a police baton and swung it at the officers, then shot again during a larger and more-sustained volley when he grabbed the empty bean-bag shotgun and raised it toward an officer, according to the letter.

According to the suit, Sainsanoy dropped Jimenez off with a security guard outside the hospital. Department policy requires officers to take the patients inside and speak to a physician, said Alvin Gomez, the attorney for the family. "Their own policies and procedures say they are supposed to check people in," Gomez said. Jimenez apparently never went inside the facility. Gomez said that there are no records showing that Jimenez was admitted to the hospital after the officer dropped him off.

The suit contends that doctors at the hospital were negligent because they did not adequately treat Jimenez on March 21. Instead of being released, Jimenez should have been hospitalized, according to the suit. "It is our contention they should never even have released him," Gomez said. After the shooting, the state Department of Health Services conducted an inquiry into the hospital's conduct. Records show no violations were found. Lawyers for the city and the county said yesterday they could not comment on the suit, because they have not been able to review it.

In all matters involving wrongful death it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. If a loved one has been a victim of wrongful death, contact us now, CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Donít delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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The wrongful death information offered by Virginia Wrongful Death Lawyer and contained herein, regarding Virginia wrongful death statutes and Virginia wrongful death claimants' rights is general in scope. No wrongful death Virginia attorney client relationship with our Virginia wrongful death attorneys is hereby formed nor is the negligent death information herein intended as formal legal advice. Please contact a Virginia personal injury wrongful death lawyer regarding your specific inquiry.

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