The family of a man slain by an off-duty D.C. police officer filed suit against the District in federal court yesterday, two weeks after the shooting.
Brian E. Hundley, 41, of the District, was fatally shot about 1:30 a.m. March 23 during a run-in with off-duty officer Marcus Gaines in a parking lot in the 600 block of N Street NW. It was the fourth time in four months that a D.C. officer had been involved in a fatal shooting, one more than in all of 2001.
Carl Hundley, the slain man's brother, hired civil rights lawyer Johnny Cochran and D.C. lawyers Donald Temple and Gregory Lattimer to file the wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington. It seeks $35 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
"There's no rhyme or reason for this, which is why it's such an enormous loss," Hundley said. "My brother was a dentist. This just shouldn't have happened."
Brian Hundley was a dental assistant one step shy of completing a degree in dental surgery. According to the statement Gaines gave police, Hundley quickly backed his car out of a parking space, almost hitting Gaines, who was escorting a relative to their car.
Gaines said he tried to call the driver's attention to the incident, but Hundley drove around him. When Gaines identified himself as a police officer, Hundley stopped. Gaines said he ordered Hundley to get out of the car, which he did, leaving a female passenger inside.
The 28-year-old officer said Hundley kept one hand behind his back, then made a threatening gesture. Gaines, a four-year member of the force, fired once, hitting Hundley in the chest.
"We don't believe any of that," Carl Hundley said.
He said he did not know what his brother was doing in the area that night or the identity of the woman in the car. Brian Hundley had recently separated from his wife, the mother of their 5-year-old son.
The shooting came less than two weeks after another off-duty officer, Robert Glenn, shot Manuel A. Gonzales, 17, after a traffic incident. Gonzales, of the District, was involved in a car accident in the 1600 block of Kalorama Road NW and allegedly brandished what turned out to be a pistol replica at witnesses who tried to keep him from leaving the scene. Gonzales later allegedly pointed the gun at Glenn, who fired three shots, killing him.
In the first police shooting of the year, Jan. 29, a vice officer fatally shot Robert D. Morgan, 22, of Hillcrest, after Morgan drew a gun, police said. The vice officer, whose name was not released, had followed Morgan from the District to Prince George's County, stopping behind the 51 Club, a liquor store in the 3200 block of Naylor Road. The officer has returned to duty.
On Feb. 26, Sgt. James Ginger and Lt. Steve O'Dell fatally shot Andre J. Gilreath, 31, of Elkridge, in the unit block of M Street NW. The officers said that they opened fire after they pulled over Gilreath, who was suspected of driving a stolen vehicle, and he tried to run over them. O'Dell, who was hit by the car, remains on sick leave. Ginger has returned to work.
The U.S. attorney's office is investigating all the cases, as is standard.
"At a minimum, these type of investigations take four to five months," said spokesman Channing D. Phillips.
Staff writer Allan Lengel contributed to this report.