City Sued for Police Killing of Suspect

Times Staff Writer

The family of a man fatally shot on live TV by Los Angeles police officers at the end of a pursuit sued the city for at least $10 million Thursday, claiming the death was the result of an unreasonable use of deadly force.

Nicholas Hans Killinger, 23, was shot several times at the conclusion of a 90-minute high-speed pursuit that ended outside Santa Monica High School in the early hours of Feb. 23.

As the Malibu man’s vehicle rolled back toward two patrol cars after he failed to negotiate a U-turn, television viewers saw two officers fire into the back window of Killinger’s Ford Tempo. A third officer fired when Killinger’s car struck a patrol car as the man flung open his door.

Killinger, who sustained wounds to the upper body and left arm, died about an hour later at a Santa Monica hospital.


“There is no way this shooting was justified under the law because there was no immediate threat to the officers,” said Danilo Becerra, an attorney for Killinger’s brother and estate. “They had this man cornered; he wasn’t going anyplace.

“The family witnessed this shooting live on TV,” Becerra said. “They realized it was their loved one being struck.”

The dead man’s brother, Shawn Killinger, said the lawsuit was filed because “I don’t want this to happen to someone else in the future.”

The suit alleges that LAPD officers disregarded their training on when to use deadly force, used excessive force, failed to provide medical care and violated Killinger’s constitutional rights. It also claims that the officers inflicted emotional distress on Killinger’s brother.


Claiming they acted in self defense, Hollywood Division Officer Manuel Solis and Rampart Division Officer Carlos Ocegueda said they were entitled to use deadly force to protect themselves or others from immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury.