The mother of a man fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy in Palmdale last year after he allegedly crashed a vehicle into two patrol cars is suing Los Angeles County, the deputy who fired the shots and others, according to court papers.
Regina Castro alleges in the lawsuit, filed Friday, April 14, in federal court, that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies had no reason to stop her son, Samuel Nunez, who “was merely driving in a vehicle when he was followed by the deputies who did not see him commit a crime and did not have reasonable suspicion to believe” the 26-year-old Lancaster man was involved in anything illegal.
The shooting around 6 p.m. on March 13, 2022, in the 6900 block of Jack Rabbit Way, near 70th Street East, took place after deputies were following up on a domestic violence call from earlier in the evening and attempted to make contact with a man seated inside a vehicle, Deputy Tracy Koerner of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said at the time.
“The suspect attempted to flee the location and rammed two patrol vehicles several times,” Koerner said. “After ramming one of the deputy’s vehicles, a deputy-involved shooting occurred. … It was later determined the suspect was not involved in the early domestic violence call.”
Civil rights attorney Dale Galipo, who is representing Castro, contends the deputies did not have a lawful reason to stop Nunez. The attorney alleges that Nunez was in the process of conducting a U-turn when LASD Deputy Chad Melton “intentionally and unreasonably” drove his patrol car into the opposite lane causing a head-on collision with Nunez. Galipo alleges that Melton then used his vehicle to box in Nunez before reversing so that he was not directly behind Nunez’s vehicle.
“The deputies used unreasonable vehicle apprehension techniques that escalated the situation,” Galipo alleges in a statement.
“Deputy Chad Melton then exited his patrol vehicle and unreasonably opened fire on Mr. Nunez as Mr. Nunez’s vehicle was slowly rolling backwards — away from the deputies. No person or deputy was in the path of the vehicle at the time. Nevertheless, Deputy Melton fired approximately six shots at Mr. Nunez, striking him multiple times to the head, neck, and upper left shoulder causing his death.”
A message requesting comment sent to the LASD was not immediately answered. A claim for damages was rejected in November by the county, “despite knowing that Mr. Nunez was not involved in the domestic violence incident,” according to Galipo.
“My son was a good man, a loyal friend, and loved by his family,” Castro said in a press release.
“It breaks my heart that Samuel was wrongfully killed by deputies who were supposed to protect. The day my son was taken, a piece of me was lost forever. I want people to know that my son had a big heart and a contagious smile. His life mattered and now I am pleading for justice. My son didn’t deserve for his life to be taken like this.”
The lawsuit for wrongful death and unspecified damages contends that the use of deadly force violated Nunez’s constitutional rights and that the officers’ “poor tactics and training” contributed to the alleged “unjustifiable” use of deadly force.
“It is our hope that we will be able to help Ms. Castro find closure and begin to heal, and to achieve justice for Samuel,” Galipo said.
UPDATE: In response to a request for comment, an LASD representative said that the department’s Homicide Bureau conducted an investigation into the deputy-involved shooting involving Nunez.
“The criminal investigation was forwarded to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Justice System Integrity Division to determine if the force used by the involved personnel violated any criminal laws. Due to pending litigation and the fact JSID is reviewing the case, the Sheriff’s Department cannot comment any further regarding this incident,” the LASD said in a statement.
Previous related story: Officials ID man killed in deputy-involved shooting in Palmdale
35 comments for "Mother of man fatally shot by deputies in Palmdale files lawsuit"
Tattoos on your face???? STUPID idea , we all have to learn that our actions do have consequences. Maybe don’t try to ram a cop car and you’d still be alive
Palmdale Influencer says
Sam won’t be getting into any more trouble.
DON’T LET THOSE COPS PUSH YOU AROUND –
JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE GUNS AND SHINY BADGES DOAN MEAN A THING TO ME –
THEY ALL THINK THEY ARE SO TOUGH AND ALL –
WHENEVER SOME COP PULLS ME OVER FOR SOMETHING I DIDN’T DO –
I IMMEDIATELY JUMP OUT OF MY CAR LEAVING THE DOOR OPEN AND RUN TO THE COP –
WHEN I GET UP REALLY CLOSE TO HIS OR HER FACE –
CLOSE ENOUGH TO MAKE LITTLE SPITS OF ANGER FLY OUT OF MY MOUTH AND INTO THE COP’S FACE –
I ALSO START IN POKING THE COP IN THE CHEST FIRMLY WITH MY INDEX FINGER –
I ALWAYS ASK THEM WHO THE HELL THEY THINK THEY ARE PULLING ME OVER ANYWAY..?
AND ASK THEM IF THEY KNOW WHO I AM..?
THEN I TURN AND WALK AWAY AND GET BACK INTO MY CAR AND LEAVE –
USUALLY I DO A BURN OUT AND KICK DIRT, DUST ND GRAVEL INTO THE AIR TO PEPPER THE COP AND THE COP CAR –
TEACH THEM A LESSON –
THAT’S FOR SURE..!
AND WHAT ABOUT THE POOR INNOCENT LAD’S FATHER..?
HE MUST BE HEARTBROKEN TOO…
A WONDERFUL YOUNG LIFE OF PROMISE WIPED OUT BY THE CRUEL COPS…
JUST BECAUSE HE HAS FACE TATTS AND LOOKS MEAN IN THE PHOTO…
HE COULD HAVE BEEN A SEMINARY STUDENT…
WHENEVER THOSE COPPERS TRY TO PULL ME OVER I DO THE SAME THING…
BASH INTO THEIR STUPID COP CARS AND TRY TO LEAVE AFTER THEY TOLD ME TO STOP…
I HOPE THIS POOR LADY WINS THE JACKPOT…
A FEAR THAT THE DAY THAT THE COPS ALL STAY HOME IS NOT TOO FAR OFF…
THEN THE PEACE LOVING AND OH SO FAIR TO EVERYONE GANGS WILL BE FULLY IN CHARGE OF MOST THINGS…
THE PROCESS NEEDS TO BE CHANGED!
I Usually Just See Them TIRED Parked…
Conversing With Themselves..
Drinking Coffee..Eating Food..On Cell Phones.. Enjoying Sierra Hwy Extras…mmm..
Finding Stolen Vehicles After They’ve Been Used In Crimes Ohh Just Driving I Saw The Vehicle Way In The Farmers Desert Field Boondocks OFF PATROL on way back to station..
Many Officers Try There Best But Only Get Stuck With Inaccurate Paperwork In The End Why Not Hire & Assign Officers To Handle Reports Specifically Because Not Enough Officers To Go Around Especially When Paperwork Takes Months To Complete
LOVE THEM BODY CAMS WHICH HEY NEED UPGRADES 007 STYLE BODYARMOUR POLICE NEED PROTECTION TOO! WHY NOT INCLUDE SPEECH TAKING NOTES IT WILL HELP WITH REPORTS!!
TECH PEOPLE COME ON OUR PHONES/ Computers DO IT
Took Over 5 months Just For A report When My Vehicle Was Burglarized & There Was Video & Prints But By The Time Investigated Nothing Admissible Honey I Could Of Completed Process Myself
Which I Did when my daughters Vehicle Stolen A Time later Which Ahm Video, Security, Prints Available But Again Failure Of The Process…
The Process Needs To Be Changed!!!
HEY TECH COMPANIES LET POLICE BE THE TESTERS
To ms.castro my prayers are with you the l.a county sheriff’s here in the antelope valley is ridiculously racist towards the African American and Hispanic cultures I believe that your son was judged by his tattoos and the sheriff’s department is a brotherhood I can speak on this because I myself suffered abuse and broken bones inside and outside the jail system I just pray that justice will come because Hispanic men are experiencing what African American males and women have endured in the 90’s to around 2007 god got you
Dates Went Way Before the Times Listed Boy Antelope Valley Has a History Along With Many Other States & Countries
The Antelope Valley Has Been Through Many Transitions
You Did Not Include KKK Before The 90’s But Maybe Your A Youngster
Another person who probably never bothered to take their GED and is a drain on society…
To the Mom that has to live without her son, for the rest of her days, no matter the reason… I can’t imagine what you must be going through. I am so sorry that happened to your son and I pray God gives you the strength to get through this tragedy.
How did he go so wrong? No father? No “real”mother?
And are our children headed in the same direction? Think about it?
Note to those of you contemplating getting your face – or anything else for that matter tattooed. Bad idea and waste of money.
Miguel Rodger says
Nah that’s a full on cholo
alida gonzalez says
He’s still a human being….
Can judge a book by its cover.
Sometimes you can. Tattoos are a bad book
Tattoos are a sign of internal unresolved deep issues.
Innocent ppl don’t evade police. They pullover when the lights come on, because they didn’t do anything. Had he pulled over, there wouldn’t have been a pursuit, no collision, no shooting, and no death. Can’t wait to hear why he was evading deputies!
So b it says
What they need to do is take all these cops off the streets and retrain them all and show them and tell them the way law enforcement should be not the way they want it to be harassing people for the race for the color for the way they dress for anything they need to retrain every single one of these cops all over
Maybe if the mother taught her son to respect the law and those in authority she wouldn’t be in this situation and her son would still be alive.
Well your heartless and ignorant don’t judge the parents you can’t control what your kids do once they become adults it’s not like they are gonna stop by your house and say hey mom today I’m gonna be disrespectful to an officer and see what happens don’t be ignorant people like you have no common sense or respect for the grieving family your pathetic
Everyone is judged from the moment you step outside. How you look , talk and act towards others. It is a fact of life. You probably noticed there are courts of law in every town. People are judged there — imagine that!
So if one is found guilty of auto theft in a court of law( judged) is that person now considered a car thief??? Yes…they are. And if I call them a car thief, am I judging them? No…because that is what they are. Just the same as if a plumber comes to my home to fix a leaky faucet, and I call him a ” plumber”. And am I judging him for calling him what he is???
Ya see, it’s OK to judge one’s actions, but not they’re heart. THAT judgement is reserved for God.
alida gonzalez says
Judgement is for God.
For all you know he was probably the kindest
Sometimes a mother has no control no matter how hard she tries because the son has mental illness.
Mental illness is beyond our control
He is in heaven now, where there are no tattoos, no gangs and no more pain
Tim Scott says
You have a scripture reference on that?
I have no dog in this fight. But…it is “different” that the lawyer said he hopes through this lawsuit that the mom will find closure…aka…looking for money. If no money was requested by the mom,then go to court just to change police practices or go after police for criminal charges. The real reasons or intentions are about money. Unspecified damages….aka…money. Just using the lawyers words.
Tim Scott says
Please explain this process you refer to: “go to court to change police practices.”
It seems demonstrably true that the only time any serious effort at police oversight is made is when the county or city involved reaches a ‘breaking point’ where they can’t afford the lawsuits. You seem to be implying otherwise. Can you support such a claim?
I work with a guy that is getting the shaft by a rookie officer. Ruffed him up while he was in handcuffs. Talking sh-t to him. It’s a real bad deal. Corruption. This newbie was trying to be tuff. It’s disgusting.
Who are you to say aka looking for money? Have you lost a son to police brutality? Regardless if you did or not, you don’t know the details and you don’t know what’s in Ms Castro’s heart. Wrongful death is wrongful death! She deserves justice and if this is the way to get justice & closure then so be it! So you really think a person can go to the police & get them to change their mind on how they do things just by asking. Ms Castro won’t get her son back by filing a law suit but maybe it will get the some attention to actually make a difference and save someone else’s sons life!
Well said some of us are just ignorant
Channette Ingram says
To Samuel’s family
You will continue to be in my prayers and my sincere condolences.
When I remember Samuel I think about how sweet, loyal and funny he was.
haha! you act like you know all the information–then go to the police. You say I do not know all the details–correct–but neither do you. Note–I have turned in at least 7 to 8 police issues–professionally and the police took the information and did follow up with me.
She lost her son long time ago due to the bad parenting. Shooting was just the end result of her mistakes. There is no one else to blame but her.. Guess what, if your son looks and acts the same, you should expect the same result. It’ll be a police shooting, or gang-on-gang shooting, or long prison time, or overdose. No way around it.