This is a sad tale that never shouldn’t need to be told. On the morning of June 27, 2013, 80-year old Eugene Mallory was shot and killed in his own bed by police executing a search warrant for methamphetamines. No meth was found at the scene.
A team of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies crashed through the front gate of Mallory’s home in Littlerock, CA, a rural community on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The 80 year old retired engineer, his wife Tonya Pate, and stepson Adrian Lamos were sleeping. Pate and Lamos emerged, but Mallory, who had severe hearing loss, did not immediately awaken.
When it was all over, Eugene Mallory died of six gunshot wounds from Sgt. John Bones’ MP-5 9mm submachine gun. When a coroner arrived, he found the loaded .22 caliber pistol the two deputies claimed Mallory had pointed at them on the bedside table. Mallory had not fired a single shot, and no methamphetamines were found on the property.
The raid was based on a no-knock warrant, meaning deputies enter the home literally without knocking. The circumstances under which the shooting occurred are the subject of some dispute. According to Reason.com:
Deputies approached the house, and what happened next is where things get murky. The deputies said they announced their presence upon entering and were met in the hallway by the 80-year-old man, wielding a gun and stumbling towards them. The deputies later changed the story when the massive bloodstains on Mallory’s mattress indicated to investigators that he’d most likely been in bed at the time of the shooting. Investigators also found that an audio recording of the incident revealed a discrepancy in the deputies’ original narrative:
Before listening to the audio recording, [Sgt. John] Bones believed that he told Mallory to “Drop the gun” prior to the shooting. The recording revealed, however, that his commands to “Drop the gun” occurred immediately after the shooting.
To learn more about the case, including details of what the sheriffs’ found, watch the above video. Tonya Pate has filed a wrongful death suit against the Los Angeles Police Department, an agency plagued by prison abuse scandals, questionable hiring practices, and allegations of racial profiling and harassment in recent years.
According to Reason.com: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department declined multiple requests to comment on this story.