The parents of a man shot to death by a Federal Way police officer two years ago have sued the city, saying the officer used excessive force when he killed 23-year-old David Young.
Marie and Darrel Young seek money for pain and suffering and other damages, according to their lawsuit, which was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson said the city had not been served a copy of the lawsuit, so he was unfamiliar with its contents.
“We will certainly respond to this lawsuit,” Wilson said.
A King County inquest jury found last year that officer Matthew Leitgeb had reason to fear for his life when he opened fire on Young as he backed a pickup toward the officer Aug. 31, 2010.
The same jury split as to whether Leitgeb was justified in firing the second of two volleys of shots at Young, who was hit in the head and later died at a hospital.
Officers chased Young after he was spotted at the Walmart on 16th Avenue South in a pickup that had been reported stolen. Young’s family said he’d purchased the pickup about two weeks before.
Police said Young tried to lose them by running a stop sign and driving on the wrong side of a busy street.
One officer eventually used his patrol car to nudge the pickup from behind, causing the truck to crash at 360th Street and 22nd Avenue South. Leitgeb and Officer Benjamin Tseng, who’d been pursuing Young, yelled at him to show his hands.
They testified at the inquest hearing that Young instead revved the truck’s engine and began backing toward Leitgeb, who fired shots at the car.
Leitgeb fired a second volley of shots when Young pulled forward toward Tseng, according to inquest testimony.
Marie and Darrel Young said in their lawsuit that police had no cause to shoot their son.
“Twenty-three-year-old David Young was unlawfully shot in the back of the head by Federal Way police officer Matthew Leitgeb for disobeying police instructions and failing to exit a vehicle,” they contend in their lawsuit.
Further, they said, police did not allow medical aid to tend to David Young for 45 minutes.
“That’s unconscionable,” their attorney, Darrell Cochran, said Friday.
Federal Way city attorney Bob Christie has said officers were worried Young might be armed and would shoot them if they approached the truck.
Leitgeb continues to work for the Federal Way Police Department as a detective, Chief Wilson said.adam.lynn@ thenewstribune.com 253-597-8644 blog.thenewstribune.com/crime @TNTadam