This week, Tonya Pate, widow of Eugene Robert Mallory, sat down with her attorneys James Bergener and Mark Algorri to discuss the wrongful death of her husband at the hands of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
Friends and colleagues remember Eugene Mallory as a kind and responsible man. According to his wife Tonya, Eugene was always eager to thank a veteran or to commend a police officer for their service.
Eugene was a retired engineer. He worked at Lockheed Martin, the global security and aerospace company, for over forty years. When he finally retired at age 74, his vision had deteriorated to the point where he felt he could no longer do his job.
Eugene’s job at Lockheed Martin required top security clearance with the U.S. Government. In all his years of working there, he never had any issue maintaining his clearance due to his clean record.
“We are expected to believe the one-sided report that this man who couldn’t grip his steering wheel or shave himself pointed a pistol at the deputies who raided his home”
At the golden age of 80, Eugene was not in good health. He was recovering from a recent surgery. He had recently given up driving because he could no longer properly grip a steering wheel. According to Tonya, her husband didn’t even have the manual dexterity to shave without help.
On the morning of June 27th, deputies of the LASD narcotics division carried out a search warrant based on an officer’s claim of meth and chemical smells coming from the property in Littlerock. The deputies entered Eugene’s bedroom. There, deputies allege that Eugene gripped and leveled a pistol at them. The deputies shot and killed Eugene while he was in bed.
In statements published by KPCC Southern California Public Radio, Deputy Peter Gomez of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said, “the suspect’s weapon, marijuana, and marijuana-growing equipment were recovered at the scene.”
It is important to remember that the “scene” is multi-unit property where Mr. Mallory was not the only resident. But he did happen to be the only one who was present in his home when the SWAT style raid occurred.
It is hard to picture this hardworking citizen who held a security clearance, had a spotless record, and felt tremendous respect for law enforcement, engaging the police in a threatening manner.
The circumstances surrounding Eugene Mallory’s tragic death raise some obvious questions. Among the most dubious would be Mr. Mallory’s ability to react to the raid in the way that has been described by LASD. Yet, we are expected to believe the one-sided report that this man who couldn’t grip his steering wheel or shave himself pointed a pistol at the deputies who raided his home.
According to statements obtained by our firm, deputies present at the shooting claim Mr. Mallory exited his bedroom with a handgun. According to them, Mr. Mallory was standing in the doorway with both of his hands holding a .22 revolver straight in front of him before being shot. He did not discharge his weapon. Looking at the trajectory of the bullets, we believe that it is extremely unlikely that Mallory, who was 6 feet 4 inches tall, was standing. Instead, this evidence suggests that he may have been sitting up in his bed.
As Tonya Pate’s attorneys, we strongly feel that Eugene Mallory’s tragic death would not have occurred had the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the deputies involved in the raid exercised even a small measure of investigation and common sense before barging in to the home of a private citizen—a model member of the community who was shot and killed in his bed.