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Family of Fairfield Man Killed By Vacaville Police Files Wrongful Death Suit

The 24-year-old was shot three times on July 18 after police said he walked toward officers in "an aggressive and threatening manner" with a knife and either a crowbar or framing hammer.

The parents and minor son of a Fairfield man who was fatally shot by Vacaville police last year filed a wrongful death suit Wednesday against the city and its police department.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento claims police were aware that 24-year-old Kendall Walker suffered from mental illness when he was shot by police officers after a low-speed chase in Vacaville on July 18.

The complaint also alleges police used excessive force and "recklessly provocative tactics" that led to the Walker's death.

City of Vacaville spokesman Mark Mazzaferro said the city has not been served the complaint and it does not comment on pending litigation.

Vacaville police said Walker was shot three times on Ulatis Drive near Christine Drive when he walked toward police officers in an aggressive and threatening manner with a knife and either a crowbar or framing hammer after a low-speed pursuit. Walker died at the scene.

Police said that before the shooting, Walker was driving a Metro GEO at a high rate of speed and refused to pull over, and that they had received reports from two individuals that Walker was behaving bizarrely and making threats.

Police said when they stopped Walker's car with a maneuver with their vehicles, Walker made a distinct movement to the passenger side of his car, and got out of the vehicle with the knife and crowbar or framing hammer.

Police said one officer fired five shots at Walker, three of which struck Walker in the chest, hip and arm.

The complaint against the city by Oakland attorney Michael Haddad states Walker had not committed a crime and had the right to non-violently resist an attempt to unlawfully seize him.

After police used a "provocative and dangerous tactical ramming PIT maneuver" to stop Walker's car, Walker was shot less than five seconds after he began to get out of his car, according to the complaint.

The complaint claims the officers didn't follow law enforcement standards and training to safely handle a mentally ill or emotionally disturbed person. "They were trained to de-escalate the situation and ratchet down the stress or threat level," Haddad said this afternoon.

"Witnesses said it appeared Walker had nothing in his hands, and he was shot before he got out of the car," Haddad said.

The complaint also alleges 10 unconstitutional actions and/or omissions by the defendants including tolerating use of excessive and deadly force, encouraging and tolerating police to file incomplete, false and inaccurate reports and encouraging a "code of silence" among law enforcement officers.

 The plaintiffs include Walker's son, his mother Leslie Molera and father William Walker.

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