Magazine article Reason

Another Drug Bust Gone Bad: Cops Can't Get Their Story Straight in the Killing of Eugene Mallory

Magazine article Reason

Another Drug Bust Gone Bad: Cops Can't Get Their Story Straight in the Killing of Eugene Mallory

Article excerpt

On a sweltering summer morning in the California desert, deputies looking for methamphetamines and bearing automatic weapons barged into the home of Eugene Mallory, an 80-year-old retired engineer living a quiet life in the small community of Littlerock. Moments later, Mallory lay in his bed bleeding to death from six bullets fired from an MP5 9mm submachine gun. The murky circumstances that led to the shooting are now the subject of a federal lawsuit. The officers found no meth on the property.

The raid took place on June 27,2013, after deputies received an anonymous tip alleging meth production on Mallory's property. Patrick Hobbs, a detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LACSD) and a self-described narcotics expert, came by to investigate and later said that "he smelled the strong odor of chemicals" downwind of the house.

As deputies announced their presence that fateful morning, Tonya Pate, Mallory's wife, emerged from the trailer where she'd been sleeping to escape the heat. Mallory's stepson Adrian Lamos and a couple of his friends emerged from another trailer and surrendered--as did a handyman tinkering with a car on the property. But Mallory remained asleep in the house.

The deputies approached the house, and what happened next is disputed. Hobbs and his team say they announced their presence. Upon entering, they claim, they encountered Mallory in the hall wielding a gun and stumbling forward, which led them to open fire. So then why did investigators later find Eugene Mallory's corpse in his bed with his .22 caliber pistol on his night table? Deputies told the coroner at the scene that paramedics had moved Mallory on to the bed and attempted to revive him. Pate disputes that account, saying that Mallory would never point a gun at an officer and that it was more likely that her elderly husband remained asleep and unaware of what was happening. …

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