HOUSTON (CN) - A drunk off-duty policeman shot two sober brothers in a bar parking lot, one fatally, as they "were coming to the rescue of a young woman" a drunk patron had punched in the face, the widow claims in Harris County Court.
Omar Ventura's widow Rosa Rodriguez and her three minor children, and Ventura's brother Rolando Ventura sued Officer Jose Coronado, the City of Houston and USA Investment Group dba Sherlock's Baker Street Pub and Grill.
The family claims that "Officer Coronado was not in fear of his or another's safety - he was drunk. He shot Omar and Rolando without provocation under color of law."
In the Feb. 19, 2011 shooting, the complaint states, "Officer Coronado gunned down 28-year-old Omar Ventura at Sherlocks in the River Oaks area. Omar was unarmed and sober. Officer Coronado shot Omar in the stomach causing Omar to 'bleed out' and eventually die after two surgeries at the hospital. While Omar was bleeding to death in the ambulance and undergoing surgeries in an attempt to save his life, other City of Houston Police Officers ... yanked his wife Rosa - who was not involved - from the back of the ambulance, keeping her from joining her husband for his final few precious minutes of life. The last words she heard from her husband as he lay in the parking lot bleeding and waiting for the ambulance to arrive were 'It hurts. Everything is going dark.'
"Officer Coronado also shot Omar's brother, Roland Ventura. Rolando was unarmed and sober. But for Rolando's quick thinking when he raised his arm to protect his face from the bullets, he would likely be dead. Instead, the arm that protected his life was destroyed when Officer Coronado, attempting to shoot Rolando in the head, shot him in the arm. Not satisfied, Officer Coronado fired again, trying to shoot Rolando in the face, but he missed."
The family says the tragedy unfolded as they headed home from Sherlock's and a drunk patron followed their cousin's fiancee, nonparty Karla Cantu, out of the bar.
"Obviously intoxicated, yelling profanities, and assaulting anyone crossing his path who was trying to prevent him from reaching Ms. Cantu, the drunk bar patron almost caught Ms. Cantu before she reached her truck," the complaint states. "He continued to yell at Ms. Cantu and began beating on her truck with such force that she feared he would seriously damage the vehicle.
"Ms. Cantu, tiring of the drunk bar patron's antics, exited her truck to confront him. He hit her in the face, knocking her down in the parking lot.
"Seeing the events unfold, an unidentified citizen approached the drunk man abusing Ms. Cantu to attempt to reason and plead with him to stop. The drunk hit the concerned citizen in the face, knocking him out cold."
That's when the Ventura brothers stepped in.
"In a heroic move, rarely seen in these cynical times, the Ventura brothers intervened between the drunk and Ms. Cantu in an attempt to talk to the drunk man and calm him down," the complaint states.
"The drunk would have none of it. He forcefully pushed Omar and Rolando aside to continue his attack. Omar kept pleading with the man to stop while Rolando tried to attend to the man lying unconscious on the pavement.