Friday, September 29, 2023
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Botched Drill Killed Officer, Widow Says

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (CN) - The widow and children of a police officer say he was shot in the back by a fellow officer during a poorly run training session. Sgt. Carlos Lozada Vergara was playing the part of suspect who could not speak Spanish when the lieutenant in charge of the session shot and killed him, the family says in Federal Court.

As other officers held him face-down on the ground, Lt. Angel A. Pacheco Orta, claiming that the "training was not properly conducted" got on Lozada's back, according to the complaint.

It continues: "Suddenly and without any warning, Lieutenant Pacheco Orta, in a grossly negligent and completely reckless action, in a manner properly characterized as shocking the conscience, took out his weapon, and shot Sergeant Lozada Vergara in the back. The bullet came out through the chest of the victim."

Lozada was taken to a hospital, where he died.

The family claims "there were no regulations, written procedures or protocols, which regulated this type of training and not a single certified instructor was present to conduct this particular training."

The training was supervised by co-defendant Julio A. Santiago, "who is not a certified instructor," according to the complaint.

The widow says the training was supposed to be conducted only with "dummy guns" but when Lt. Pacheco arrived he did not go through the checkpoint or empty before entering the training area. Pacheco "was not present at the start of the exercise, and was not a certified instructor," the widow says.

Norma Marrero Rodríguez and her two children seek $10 million for negligence and civil rights violations. They are represented by Alberto De Diego Collar, with Melendez-Perez, De Diego & Jimenez.

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