Family of shooting victim files lawsuit against Border Patrol - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Family of shooting victim files federal suit against Border Patrol

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – A federal lawsuit has been filed by the family of a Chula Vista mother who was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent last year.

Attorney Eugene Iredale, who is representing the family, is going after the agent who shot and killed Valeria Tachaquin Alvarado in September.

The lawsuit filed Monday seeks unspecified damages from the agent, Justin Tackett, and the Border Patrol.

The 32-year-old mother of five was killed while in her vehicle outside of the Chula Vista apartment belonging to a suspect.

"Officer Tackett on the 28th of September killed another human being when he didn't have to," said Iredale.

Alvarado, who also had trace amount of methamphetamine in her system, was visiting with the suspect and was going to help him move from the apartment, according to Iredale.

In September 2012, the Border Patrol said Tackett fired shots in self-defense after Alvarado began driving her car toward the agent. Authorities say Alvarado physically hit the agent in question, which prompted him to use deadly force.

Iredale says that story contradicts eyewitness accounts that his investigators have logged.

"She started to back away to get away especially since he was pointing a gun at her and brandishing gun," he said, "and then, as she backs away, he unloads his weapon into her body."

An autopsy report details the 14 wounds Alvarado suffered as a result of the gunfire.

Iredale says the family has received no updates from the Chula Vista Police Department or the Border Patrol since the fatal September 28 shooting.

The complaint spends seven pages questioning Tackett's qualifications because of his history of previous alleged excessive force.

"He was a person who could have not have passed a reasonable background check who should have never been hired as a law enforcement officer in the first place," said Iredale, "and yet, he was."

The Border Patrol released a statement Tuesday that indicates the Chula Vista Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General are investigating the shooting.

"We continue to fully cooperate in the investigation of this matter," the Border Patrol said in the statement. "Because the investigation continues and because of the pending litigation we will not comment further at this time."

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