L.A. County to Pay $2.5 Million for Off-Duty Deputy Shooting

Los Angeles County will doll out $2.5 million to a group of men involved in a shooting by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy at a fast food drive-through four years ago.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the settlement with plaintiffs Aaron Beierschmitt, Mark Lewis, Donald Deltiempo and Andrew Macaluso despite an earlier finding by the district attorney’s office and sheriff’s department that the deputy acted lawfully. Contrary to those findings, the lawsuit alleged that Deputy Robert Alvarez acted "without sufficient provocation or legal justification" when he fired at Beierschmitt and Lewis at a Del Taco drive-through line with his department-issued gun.

The shooting took place after the men got out of their car and allegedly began making threats, with one of them lunging at the officer. While Alvarez says he feared the men would overpower him and take his weapon, the plaintiffs—including two passengers—pressed the fact that they were unarmed at the time.

According to the suit, Beierschmitt suffered particularly severe injuries. As a result, he has been forced to undergo surgery and expensive medical treatments.

Read more about the settlement here.