No Reason to Kill Suicidal Man, Widow Says

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) — A widow claims in a lawsuit that Utah police responded to her late husband’s drunken call to a suicide hotline by shooting him 22 times, after which one shooter slapped another one on the shoulder and shouted, “You’re good.”

Maria Calzada sued 11 SWAT Team officers, Roy City police and the Weber County Sheriff’s Department, for the death of her husband Jose Calzada two years ago. Calzada’s mother, Manuela Rosales, also sued in the Dec. 6 complaint in Federal Court.

Roy City, pop. 38,000, is south of Ogden, in Weber County.

The widow says her 35-year-old husband called a hospital-managed suicide hotline at 4:04 a.m. on Oct. 21, 2014. Roy City police responded and evacuated everyone from their home except her husband, then called the SWAT Team.

Before the five-hour standoff that ended with her husband’s death, the widow says, one of the evacuees told the SWAT Team that Jose had drunk “approximately a gallon” of whiskey, and that he also “was taking a prescription sleep aid and two anti-anxiety medications that would cause increase drowsiness.”

She says that her husband “had not broken any law, had threatened no one and was of no danger to anyone other than himself,” and that a SWAT Team negotiator “repeatedly reassured Jose that he had done nothing wrong and that law enforcement would not enter his home.”

Nonetheless, the defendants “made the irrational, unreasonable, unlawful, unconstitutional and incorrect decision to have a SWAT team enter Jose’s home,” without a warrant, the widow says.

It took them 30 minutes to find him, asleep in the trunk of his car. Awakened from his “drunken stupor,” Jose “never even made an attempt to sit upright,” the complaint states.

It continues: “When he allegedly made a slow movement with one hand toward a rifle,

Defendants opened fire and shot him twenty-two (22) times immediately killing him.”

Then, “Shockingly, immediately following Jose’s death, one member of the SWAT Team slapped a fellow SWAT Team member and one of the shooters who killed Jose on the left shoulder and shouted, ‘You’re good.’ In effect congratulating him on successfully completing his mission.”

The defendant city and county, police and sheriff’s departments and officers did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Calzada’s wife and mother seek punitive damages for wrongful death, breach of Utah’s Governmental Immunity Act, unlawful search and seizure, failure to intervene, and civil rights violations.

They are represented by Miles LeBaron with LeBaron & Jensen, of Layton.

LeBaron did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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