Mother Claims She Called Sheriffs to Split Up Fight Between Her Daughter and Son-in-Law -- Officers Instead Shoot Them Both to Death
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NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A mother who called Louisiana sheriff's officers because her daughter and son-in-law were fighting saw the officers respond by shooting them both to death, the mother claims in court.
The mother, Patricia Doyle, sued on behalf of her two granddaughters, and for her late daughter, Deborah Prine, and son-in-law Robert Prine.
Named as defendants are St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Michael Tregre, in his official capacity, and 14 of his officers, in their official capacities and as individuals.
St. John the Baptist Parish is just west of New Orleans. A Parish is Louisiana's version of a county.
In the federal lawsuit, Doyle says she called 911 sometime before 8 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2012, to complain that her daughter and son-in-law were fighting.
The Sheriff's Office responded by sending 14 officers, who shot her daughter to death, and then shot her son-in-law to death when he begged them not to keep shooting his wife, Doyle says.
"While plaintiff, Patricia Doyle, was speaking to the 911 operator the 911 operator overheard Deborah Prine state that she had a gun as she left Patricia Doyle's trailer," the complaint states.
It continues: "The 911 operator asked Patricia Doyle if Deborah Prine was armed. Patricia Doyle told the operator that Deborah Prine was going to try to get the responding deputies to shoot her but that she would not hurt anyone. The plaintiff, Doyle, asked the 911 operator to send the appropriate people out to handle the situation.
"As these  defendants took up defensive positions around the Prine home the plaintiff, Doyle, began yelling to the defendants that her daughter, Deborah Prine, would not hurt anyone and that she was trying to get the defendants to shoot her.
"Shortly thereafter Robert Prine, unarmed, walked around the side of his residence between a camper and his house towards some of the defendant deputies who had taken up defensive positions in front of 129 Steven Drive. The defendant deputies attempted to engage Robert Prine, however, he backed away from them to a location behind the camper located in the front yard of 129 Steven Drive.
"Deborah Prine then exited the open carport of her home at 129 Steven Drive. As she walked out she had a rifle strapped over her shoulder pointed toward the sky. She walked out the carport to the end of the driveway where she stopped. As she stood there several of the defendant deputies ordered her to drop her weapon. Fearful that the defendant deputies would shoot her daughter, the plaintiff, Doyle, pleaded with the defendants not to shoot. Doyle was 10 to 15 feet behind the defendants pleading with them not to shoot Deborah Prine. Moments after ordering Deborah Prine to drop her gun but before she had an opportunity to do so the defendants, [Sgt. Richard] Dubus and [Deputy Christopher] Powell, shot Deborah Prine. Although Deborah Prine was armed her rifle was pointed skyward the entire time. She never lowered the weapon or pointed the weapon at anyone. She never fired the weapon.
"Immediately after being shot Deborah Prine fell to the ground. The stock of her gun struck the ground and her gun discharged. In response the defendants, Dubus, [Deputy Turner] Barran and [Deputy Bailey] Newsom shot Deborah Prine .
"After falling to the ground Deborah Prine never reached for her rifle, pointed her rifle or in anyway manipulated her rifle. After being shot Deborah Prine was defenseless, unarmed and posed no threat. Nonetheless, the defendants, Dubus, Barran and Newsom, fired a second round of shots into her.