UTICA, N.Y. (CN) - Utica police officials were "too busy" to respond to pleas from a woman whose abusive ex-boyfriend shot her to death in front of their 4-year-old daughter, the victim's mother claims in court.
Barbara McGregor sued Utica, the Utica Police Department and police Officer Elizabeth Shanley, in Federal Court, on behalf of her late daughter Kylie Ann Turczyn.
Turczyn died at the hands of her estranged boyfriend, Thomas Anderson, in June 2012. Anderson, then 27, shot her in her family's home outside Utica, then killed himself. When troopers arrived, they found Turczyn, 23, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at a Utica hospital, according to media reports.
"On June 22, 2012, the decedent's estranged boyfriend and father of her daughter,
Thomas Anderson, broke into her house carrying a gun," the complaint states. "Kylie's sister Amanda Henkle and niece G. managed to escape and Kylie barricaded herself in the bathroom. Anderson shot Turzyn repeatedly with a 9 mm rifle while she cowered in the bathroom, killing her in front of their four-year-old daughter, G.T. Anderson then turned the gun on himself and killed himself.
"The decedent had made numerous complaints over the previous 12 months, both to the Utica Police and to the State Troopers, including informing them of a specific threat by Anderson to kill her.
"In addition, Kylie Ann Turczyn had sought an order of protection that would have had Anderson off the street, but was rebuffed because it was late in the day and the 'advocate' was 'too busy.'"
McGregor claims the police knew of the troubled history between Anderson and Turczyn, and had previously arrested Anderson for punching Turczyn and threatening to kill her.
She claims Turczyn talked to the Oneida County domestic violence investigator, defendant Shanley, about Anderson's threats to harm her, but Shanley failed to take steps to protect her.
"On or about Thursday, June 14, 2012, Kylie Ann Turczyn attended a concert in Saratoga, NY," the complaint states. "Anderson attended the same concert with a group of friends. These friends told Kylie that Anderson had told them that he had a gun and was going to kill Kylie.
"On Monday, June 18, 2012, Kylie diligently spoke with Shanley face-to-face about this incident and threat in Shanley's capacity as Oneida County Domestic Violence Investigator and expressed her concerns regarding recent incidents that had occurred between her and Anderson. Shanley was aware of the history of domestic violence issues involving Anderson and the decedent.
"During the meeting, Turczyn told Shanley that Anderson had been harassing her by
calling, texting (including a text claiming that he had AIDS and that she probably did also) and driving by her parents' house, where she was residing, in addition to the recent occurrence at Saratoga." (Parentheses in complaint).
That same day, Turczyn tried to get a protective order from the Oneida County Family Court, but was told to come back in the morning, according to the lawsuit.
McGregor says her daughter called Shanley about the delayed protective order and left a message saying that Anderson had a gun and was planning to shoot her that week.
Nevertheless, McGregor claims, Shanley failed to arrest Anderson or get Turczyn a protective order.
Shanley told Turczyn that state police should handle the situation, that it was outside of Utica's jurisdiction, but failed to inform state authorities or take any other steps, according to the complaint.
"On June 20, 2012 - still on the street because he had not been arrested for making death threats, and with no order of protection to prevent contact - an extremely intoxicated Anderson entered the establishment where Kylie was employed in the City of Utica, and repeated his threat to kill her, specifying that he planned to kill her that week," the complaint states. "Two days later he entered Kylie's parents' residence and shot her to death in front of their daughter."
McGregor claims police knew Anderson had a history of violence, had a gun, and had threatened to kill Turczyn, but showed "a reckless disregard for Turczyn's safety and deliberate indifference to her constitutional rights."
She seeks compensatory and punitive damages for negligence and constitutional violations.
She is represented by Frank Policelli.
Attorney Policelli said in an interview: "With the knowledge the police officer had, the police had a special relationship with Kylie, where they had a duty to protect her. They were more than negligent; they were deliberately indifferent to this girl's constitutional right to safety."
Policelli said police could have prevented Turczyn's death by arresting Anderson when he showed up at the night club where she worked, the Wednesday before the murder.
"It made him feel as if he had a free pass to do whatever he wanted and the police would not do anything about it," the attorney said.
Representatives for the city did not reply to requests for comment.
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