REDMOND, Wash. — The Redmond City Council has voted to pay $7.5 million to settle a wrongful-death claim made by the family of a woman who was shot to death in 2020 by a police officer as she lay unarmed and awaiting arrest outside her apartment door.
An attorney for the family of Andrea Churna says the money will go to her estate, parents and 8-year-old son.
Churna had called police because she believed someone was in her home in 2020.
She had been ordered out of her apartment and was on the floor waiting for officers to handcuff her when Officer Daniel Mendoza shot her six times with a high-powered rifle.
“In my experience, there’s absolutely no justification for it at all. It should have never happened. You can’t even rationalize it. My daughter was murdered,” said Michael Thomas, Churna’s father and a retired commander with the Michigan State Police.
Redmond Police initially said Churna was armed when she was shot, but on Wednesday, following the settlement, Chief Darrell Lowe issued a statement acknowledging she was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
“Our daughter didn’t do anything wrong. She was looking for help,” Thomas said.
Attorney Kim Zak of Shiers Law Firm represents Churna’s estate and family and told KIRO 7 Churna called police fearing a previous stalker was trying to break in.
Zak said Churna apparently fired a gun toward her door before police arrived and later stood on the balcony showing the gun to an officer in a non-threatening way when he asked if she had a weapon.
Redmond officials say Mendoza remains a police officer in Redmond.
King County prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges, but officials say they will wait for the results of an inquest, which could be years away.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” Thomas said.
©2022 Cox Media Group