Attorneys for a gun manufacturer and a retired LAPD officer who was paralyzed when his 3-year-old son accidentally fired the officer’s handgun while riding in the family truck told a judge Wednesday a settlement was reached in the ex-lawman’s lawsuit.
The announcement came as Los Angeles Superior Court Judge J. Stephen Czuleger was about to begin the process of selecting a jury for trial of the lawsuit brought in July 2008 by then-Officer Enrique Herrera Chavez and his wife, Leonora Aduna Chavez, against Glock Inc. and the Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club.
No settlement terms were divulged.
Chavez, now 45, was off duty when he was shot on July 11, 2006, while driving his Ford Ranger near Harbor Boulevard and La Palma Avenue in Anaheim. The former Marine, who joined the LAPD in 1996, was on his way to drop off his son, Collin, with a family member before testifying in a court case.
The boy was able to get hold of his father’s weapon while sitting in the back seat and shot the officer in the back. Chavez, who was assigned to the Newton Division, was rendered a paraplegic paralyzed from the waist down.
Judge Kevin Brazile granted a defense motion in July 2010 dismissing the entire case, but his ruling was partially reversed on appeal. The Los Angeles Police Revolver and Athletic Club sold Chavez the Glock 21 firearm in 2003.
The former officer alleged the gun and hip holster were negligently designed without a grip safety and that it required only minimal pressure to discharge.
“In fact, the trigger energy on the Glock is so low that it was easier to pull the trigger on the Glock than on cheap, plastic toy guns ordered off the Internet,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys stated in their court papers.
Defense attorneys countered that Chavez admitted he forgot the gun was in the back seat when he put his son in the truck, but not in a car seat as required by law. He also did not disassemble it so it would be inoperable, they said.
“There is no such thing as a childproof firearm,” the Glock lawyers stated in their court papers.
A grip safety could easily have been deactivated by a child like Chavez’s son because it only required a small amount of pressure, the Glock lawyers said.
“(Chavez) admits that he could have easily prevented this incident by following (Glock’s) warnings, his LAPD training and some common sense,” according to the handgun manufacturer’s court papers.
— Wire reports