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Family of Tommy Le, who was shot while holding pen, sues for $10 million

Tommy Le

SEATTLE (AP) — The family of an unarmed 20-year-old man who was shot to death by a deputy has filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against the King County sheriff’s office.

Deputy Cesar Molina shot Tommy Le last June while responding to reports that Le was threatening people with a knife, prompting one homeowner to fire a shot to try to scare him off. The sheriff’s office later said Le was holding a black ball-point pen, not a knife, when he was shot.

The lawsuit names King County; the sheriff’s office; former sheriff John Urquhart; King County executive Dow Constantine; and deputy Caesar Molina.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Le had been shot twice in the back and once in the back of the arm. The family’s attorney, Jeffery Campiche, says the 120-pound Le posed no threat.

The lawsuit said Le was facing a mental health crisis and needed help. Le had a trace amount of LSD in his system, but the lawyer says it wasn't enough to cause impairment.

The King County Sheriff's Office declined to comment.