Ryan LeRoux’s dad says he could sue after criminal investigation


About 20 people gathered in Johnsons Local Park in Gaithersburg on Sunday to protest the shooting death of Ryan LeRoux. LeRoux, 21, was shot and killed by four Montgomery County officers on July 16. His father said he could sue the department once Howard County completes its investigation.

The father of a Gaithersburg man who was shot dead by four Montgomery County police officers this summer said on Sunday he was considering suing the department.

Police gunned down Ryan LeRoux, 21, on July 16 following a standoff of more than 90 minutes at a McDonald’s drive-thru on Flower Hill Way.

Police released portions of body-worn camera footage two weeks after the shooting, which is being investigated by the Howard County State Attorney’s Office. Family and social justice advocates have criticized the department’s transparency regarding the shooting and believe more de-escalation tactics could have been used.

The four officers who fired the shots – Sara Vaughan, Brooks Inman, John Cerny and Romand Schmuck – were put on administrative leave. The shooting is still under investigation by Howard County, under a reciprocal agreement with Montgomery County in which a state attorney’s office is investigating the use of force by the forces of the order that resulted in a death in the other county.

Paul LeRoux, Ryan’s father, told Bethesda Beat following a protest in Gaithersburg on Sunday that the family had retained a Baltimore lawyer. If the family continues, it will be after the end of the criminal investigation, he said.

“It would seem appropriate to allow Howard County to complete their process and for us to have access to some of the evidence as well,” he said.

County police were called to McDonald’s at around 9:15 p.m. on July 16 after receiving a call saying LeRoux was refusing to pay for food in the drive-thru lane and had parked there. When an officer saw a handgun in the passenger seat of LeRoux’s SUV, they called for reinforcements.

Body camera images released on July 27 show officers at the scene and an emergency dispatcher telling LeRoux over the radio to put his hands out the window. LeRoux can be heard telling the dispatcher that his hands are up.

In the video, officers can be heard discussing attempts to reach LeRoux in defusing the situation, but to no avail. Additionally, police can be heard on the radio saying that a mobile crisis negotiator is on his way to the scene, but the police fired at LeRoux before they arrived.

Officers shot LeRoux after seeing him adjust his seat from a reclined position and suddenly sit up, according to the video. It is not clear if LeRoux was holding the gun at the time.

Police say the handgun was in the passenger seat of LeRoux’s vehicle for most of the clash, but was in his lap after they shot him down and removed it of the vehicle.

LeRoux’s mother, Rhonda, said Police Chief Marcus Jones never said whether LeRoux was holding or pointing the gun that night.

LeRoux’s mother said during a protest in July that her son was depressed around the time of the murder, had just broken up with his girlfriend and had lived through his grandmother’s death. Additionally, Ryan lived in his vehicle and purchased the handgun for protection, she said at the time.

About 20 people gathered in Johnson’s local park on Washington Grove Lane on Sunday to protest LeRoux’s death and call on police to change their approach to handling mental health-related appeals. The signs featured messages such as “Justice 4 Ryan” and “Replace Police Chief Marcus Jones!” Hold Montgomery County Police Responsible! “

Bob Veiga, co-chair of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, told the rally he was concerned about the number of times Montgomery County officers have shot people, only for the state attorney’s office Howard County exonerates them.

“It is not because someone is justified that he is not a murderer, that he has not committed a crime,” he said.

One woman who did not identify herself said officers who shoot and kill people in mental health crises must be held accountable for their actions. She said she suffered from anxiety and depression as a teenager and often had thoughts of suicide. The police once called her while she was going through a crisis.

“The only thing that isn’t helpful when you’re facing something like this is someone with a badge yelling at you to be compliant, when all you are is just sad or depressed.” , she said.

Speakers on Sunday also included Steven Watson, the father of George Watson, 34, who was shot and killed by a DC policeman outside his apartment on August 31. The officer who shot Watson said on the radio at the time that he was “definitely a consumer of mental health.” DCist reported.

Watson said shootings such as the one in which her son and LeRoux were killed are becoming all too common.

“If the police don’t know how to handle the situation, they should turn it over to someone who knows and not resort to violence,” he said.

Paul LeRoux told Bethesda Beat on Sunday that no one from the police department contacted the family during the standoff.

“This is where a crisis response team would be. They would have called, found out who the father was. I would have called in the middle of the night and I could have called my son or texted him, ”he said.

The father said the correct approach would have been for the officers to back off.

“To make four policemen supposedly all feel threatened at the same time by my son, it didn’t shoot a gun. He just has a gun in the car with him.… There is no reason why why it needed to escalate where they’re all ready to pull the trigger, ”he said.

A Montgomery County Police spokesperson did not immediately respond to an email from Bethesda Beat asking for comment on Monday.

Other shootings

There have been three more fatal shootings by law enforcement officers in Montgomery County this year.

  • On leave of the Pentagon officer David Hall Dixon, shot Dominque Williams, 32, and James Lionel Johnson, 38, in the parking lot of a Takoma Park condominium. Dixon said he had confronted people trying to break into a vehicle, but surveillance footage showed him firing shots behind a car as it drove away. Dixon was charged with murder and attempted murder.
  • Frank Pruitt of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office shot dead Kevin Costlow, 52, in February after Costlow attacked him with a large tree branch on Olney Laytonsville Road. Pruitt was cleared in June by the Howard County State Attorney’s Office.
  • In January, four plainclothes officers from Gaithersburg shot dead Kwamena Ocran, 24, on South Frederick Road. Police said officers reported that Ocran fired at them as they pursued him, and the four officers fired back. The Howard County State Attorney’s Office declined to charge the four officers earlier this month.

Dan Schere can be contacted at [email protected]


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