Slain Man's Family Notifies County of Suit

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 5, 2007

The family of a Fairfax County man shot to death by a Fairfax officer last year demanded yesterday that the county pay $12 million for his wrongful death.

An attorney for the parents of Salvatore J. Culosi said in a letter that they also want information from Fairfax about the Jan. 24, 2006, shooting, including the internal investigation into the actions of Officer Deval V. Bullock, who reported that he fired his weapon unintentionally. They also want to know whether police have reviewed their policies and procedures since the shooting.

Salvatore and Anita Culosi said the county has not contacted them in nearly a year, though county officials promised them a full investigation and review of police policies.

The letter was delivered to Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) as required under state law before the filing of a wrongful-death suit, said their attorney, Bernard J. DiMuro. He said "the family still is interested in having a dialogue with the county, which, frankly, has been promised by Chairman Connolly and the chief" of police, David M. Rohrer.

Connolly, Rohrer and County Attorney David P. Bobzien declined to comment yesterday.

The day after the shooting, Rohrer said in a statement, "I pledge that we will fully review, as always, our policies, practices, and this operation in detail."

In late March, Connolly sent an e-mail to the Culosis saying that "it would seem that at two months, it is reasonable for citizens to ask why we have yet to see a report."

Culosi was an optometrist living in the Fair Oaks area. He was being investigated by Fairfax police in connection with illegal sports gambling, and an undercover detective said in an affidavit for a search warrant that he had bet on professional football games with Culosi for several months in late 2005.

On a Tuesday night after a football weekend, the detective went to Culosi's townhouse to pick up his winnings. The detective then signaled for two SWAT officers to arrest Culosi. The officers drove up, and Bullock hopped out of the passenger side of a sport-utility vehicle. He told police investigators that as he left the vehicle, the door bumped his left side, causing his right side to flinch, according to an internal affairs report seen by The Washington Post.

Bullock fired one shot from his .45-caliber handgun, killing Culosi instantly. Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. ruled that Bullock did not commit a crime.

"The Culosi family still has no sense of concern or urgency from the county," DiMuro wrote, "that anything has or will be done in response to the tragic and wholly unnecessary death of their son, or that anyone in the county cares enough about their loss to even make personal contact with them as was promised."

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