Family of Ryan LeRoux Files Wrongful Death Suit Against Montgomery County and MCPD Officers Over Shooting Death at a McDonald’s in Gaithersburg

by Patrick Herron

The family of a Ryan LeRoux, a 21-year old that was shot and killed by Montgomery County Police in front of the McDonald’s located at 18273 Flower Hill Way in Gaithersburg on July 16, 2021, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Montgomery County and the four police officers involved, according to FOX 5.

Last week the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office announced that a grand jury had declined to indict the Montgomery County police officers involved in the shooting.

The lawsuit claims that LeRoux’s rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act because he was suffering from a mental health crisis when he was shot, according to the report. The lawsuit also claims that MCPD has a history of using deadly force in cases that involve a mental health crisis and that the officers were poorly trained in handling these types of situations.

On July 27, Montgomery County Chief of Police Marcus Jones held a press conference where 28 minutes of bodycam footage from the shooting was shown.

LaRoux was living in his car around the time he was killed.

According to the initial MCPD press release, “a caller stated that a customer had ordered food and was refusing to pay or move his vehicle from the drive-through lane. A 6th District officer responded to the scene and approached a white Honda CRV parked in the drive-through lane. The 21-year-old male was the sole occupant of the vehicle, located in the driver’s seat.

The officer immediately observed a handgun on the front passenger seat and called for back-up. Additional officers arrived, secured the area and evacuated McDonald’s staff.  During the armed standoff, MCP officers attempted to deescalate the situation by negotiating with the driver for approximately thirty minutes. Circumstances that are still under investigation led to officers firing their weapons and the driver was shot.”

Per the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office:

Pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between Howard and Montgomery Counties, which stipulates that when a fatal, officer-involved use of force occurs in one county, the other county’s State’s Attorney’s Office will prosecute the matter, Howard County has notified Montgomery County that it reached a conclusion in the shooting of Ryan LeRoux, 21, of Gaithersburg.

On July 16th, 2021, there was a police-involved shooting at the McDonald’s located at 18273 Flower Hill Way in Gaithersburg. Four officers with the Montgomery County Police Department discharged their service weapons at LeRoux, striking him multiple times. The officers involved were Officer Brooks Inman, Officer Sara Vaughan, Officer John Cerny, and Corporal Romund Schmuck.

LeRoux died as a result of gunshot wounds sustained during the incident.

An investigation, which took place over the last several months, included four days of presentations before the Grand Jury of Montgomery County. The jurors received a complete overview of the case, including testimony from the lead detective, and reviewed hours of police body camera footage. A “Use of Force” expert was also brought in to testify at the Grand Jury’s request. On March 31st, 2022, the Grand Jury declined to indict the officers involved in the shooting.

>>Attached is a comprehensive summary of the investigation, which will also be published on our website.

-Please note: The State requested and obtained permission from the presiding Grand Jury Judge to include the information that relates to the multiple Grand Jury sessions.

>>Click here to view the compilation of footage from police body worn cameras released by Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones in the days following the incident.

The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office is now in possession of the raw footage from each of the 18 police body worn cameras on scene. The files are large but will be released upon request. Please allow for time to process.

Background Information-

Montgomery and Howard Counties entered into the agreement about the prosecution of police-involved use of force deaths in 2015 following a nationwide recommendation from the Obama Administration. It was formalized with a written Memorandum of Understanding in 2019. The agreement was and remains the first of its kind in Maryland and aims to ensure transparency and unbiased prosecution.

 

 

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