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Lawsuit filed over 2010 KC police shooting

Updated: 2014-01-03T01:25:32Z

By TONY RIZZO

The Kansas City Star

The family of a Grandview man shot to death by Kansas City police in 2010 has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Kenny Gurley, 40, was killed Dec. 29, 2010, outside a house in the Ruskin Heights community.

Police were called to the area that morning after someone reported prowlers around a vacant residence. A police spokesman said at the time that Gurley was shot after emerging from the home and coming toward officers while holding a metal pole raised over his head.

Relatives of Gurley said at the time that he had recently relapsed into using methamphetamine. In the lawsuit filed Monday, a relative said he was not himself that morning and was acting “crazy.” According to the lawsuit, Gurley became “paranoid, delusional and sometimes unpredictable” when using drugs.

A cousin, who was with Gurley that morning, said they had been at the home of Gurley’s fiancee directly behind the vacant house. He said Gurley wanted to look at the vacant house, which he was interested in buying, according to the lawsuit.

One of the officers responding to the prowler report said he heard something inside the house and yelled for anyone inside to come out with their hands up.

The cousin said that when they came out of the vacant house, the officer had his handgun drawn and pointed at them, according to the lawsuit. The cousin said he told the officers not to shoot Gurley, telling them: “He’s crazy. He’s not normally like this. He’s got a condition, you know.”

The cousin said in the lawsuit that the officer then holstered his weapon and punched Gurley in the jaw. A second officer then came into the yard and after saying he needed a Taser, the officer shot Gurley twice with his pistol, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says the actions of the officers were unlawful and unjustified. In addition to the wrongful-death claim, the suit says the use of deadly force was unreasonable, and that the officers used excessive force.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages.

A Police Department spokesman could not be reached Thursday for comment.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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