City, officer under shooting lawsuit - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

City, officer under shooting lawsuit

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WACO -

A man wounded in an officer involved shooting is suing both the officer and the city.

Tommy Smith filed a civil suit in the Federal Court against the city of Waco and Francisco Reyes. Smith is charging the officer with excessive use of force. The city is also listed in the suit for training him.

This is after an officer involved shooting on March 18 when Reyes and another officer went to Smith's home for a domestic disturbance call. Smith had called 911 because his grandson Alex Mendoza was fighting with his girlfriend. After Smith called police, Mendoza got into a close and took out a rifle from the closet. The rifle was not loaded, but Smith took Mendoza into a bear hug to prevent him from hurting anyone.

According to a complaint filed by Smith in the Federal Court, the rifle was pointing at the ceiling when the two officers got to the home. The documents say Reyes, without warning, shot three times. Two bullets hit nearby furniture, while the third went through Smith's hand and into Mendoza's stomach.

"This was a situation in which no one was in danger and there was no reason to resort to what could've been deadly force," Smith's attorney Erik Walker said. "With no danger there were other actions the police should've taken before even considering using their firearms."

Waco city attorney Jennifer Richie, however, says Reyes did nothing wrong.

"We strongly believe the police officer acted appropriately in the night in question and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit," Richie said.

Richie would not comment on specific allegations saying they will wait until the trial to address them. She said Reyes was in the right and they will defend "every part of this lawsuit."

The court documents do list multiple allegations against Reyes' actions. One of them is how Reyes shot at Smith and Mendoza. The complaint says Reyes had a "shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later approach.

"It was basically a spray and pray type of shooting," Walker said.

Walker also says the city had already been on notice for earlier situations when officers used deadly force. He says he wants this lawsuit to send a message to police that using deadly force is not the way to handle a domestic disturbance.

Smith is also asking for more than $750,000 in damages. Walker says that's not nearly enough after losing the use of his hand.

"I think that's an incredibly low amount. I certainly wouldn't take $750,000 in return for my hand. I don't think many of us would," Walker said.

Mendoza did recover from his wounds and is charged with aggravated assault of a police officer.

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