PHOENIX (CN) – A man checking for water leaks in his gated community was Tasered and shot to death by Mesa police officers, his widow and children claim in court.
Sanja Krstic and her children sued Mesa and its Police Department, Police Chief John Meza and two John Doe officers on Monday in Maricopa County Court, for the wrongful death of her husband, Ivan Krstic.
Ivan Krstic was checking for water leaks under the street in the gated community of Las Sendas on the night of Dec. 3, 2015, using a piece of rebar to tap the asphalt and listen for hollow spots that indicate leaks.
Ivan was to meet with his homeowners’ association the next morning to talk about the water leaks, and was checking the asphalt for that, his wife says.
Two Mesa police officers arrived at about 10 p.m. and got out of their squad car with their guns drawn, the widow says.
She says her husband made no movements toward the officers and said nothing to them, but one of them shot him with a Taser, causing him to fall backward and hit his head.
When he climbed to his feet, “using the rebar to support his weight and assist his balance again in a walking stick like manner,” again without moving toward the officers, the other shot him to death, the widow says in the complaint.
Her attorney Troy Hendrickson told Courthouse News the Krstics were a “tight, happy family” before the shooting.
“She’s from Serbia, and he married her in Serbia,” Hendrickson said. “The kids were 11 and 9 at the time of the shooting. It was right before Christmas, right before the son’s birthday.”
Now the family is struggling financially because Ivan was the breadwinner.
“And emotionally there is obviously a huge void,” Hendrickson said. “The poor son wrote a letter to Santa asking for his father back for Christmas.”
Hendrickson said there are a number of unanswered questions.
“It’s been over four months and [Mesa police] still haven’t released anything,” Hendrickson said – including the names of the two officers.
A spokesman for the Mesa Police Department declined to comment.
The Krstics seek punitive damages for wrongful death, assault and battery, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium and vicarious liability. They also seek funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, and costs of suit.
Hendrickson’s office is in Chandler.
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