TACOMA, Wash. — A Western Washington county has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of a man shot in the head in 2017 by a sheriff’s deputy and who died about a year later in 2018.
The News Tribune reports that Pierce County announced the settlement with Brent Heath’s family on Friday. Attorneys representing Heath’s family said Pierce County agreed to the settlement last month.
The 35-year-old Heath was driving a car with expired tabs. He fled when a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull him over.
According the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Heath was cornered and his vehicle disabled in Port Orchard. The lawsuit said Heath tried to flee by rocking the vehicle, and that the sheriff’s deputy fired multiple rounds.
“The shooting occurred at the end of a police chase when Mr. Heath was surrounded and his car was disabled with three flat tires, and blocked from the road by a guardrail,” attorneys for the estate said.
Pierce County contended that Heath broke multiple laws, including driving recklessly through populated areas.
“Heath’s actions and the severity of the crimes at issue here weigh in favor of holding that shooting Plaintiff was reasonable,” the county argued.