The wife of a 68-year-old property owner shot and killed by a Blount County deputy last year has filed a suit in federal court against the deputy, Sheriff James Berrong, and the county, citing wrongful death and violation of civil rights.
Henry C. Taylor Jr. was killed at his rental property in Louisville on Aug. 21, 2013. Deputy Ernest Ti Ragland, 22, fired at least 11 bullets into Taylor's detached garage, and one of them hit and killed the 68-year-old, according to the lawsuit.
The day before the shooting, Taylor reported to the sheriff's office that someone burglarized his property on 1856 Mentor Road. The next day, Taylor reported a second burglary. At about 7 p.m. that day, Taylor's wife, Cynthia Ridinger, said Deputy Ragland took a report on the second burglary and promised he would check on the property throughout the day.
READ: The full lawsuit
Later that night, Taylor went to his property to check if anything was missing and assess the damage.
While Taylor was in the garage, Ragland checked on the property again unannounced. Ridinger claims that when the deputy saw Taylor through the window holding a gun, Ragland panicked and began shooting indiscriminately. According to the lawsuit, Ragland also didn't identify himself as law enforcement and didn't warn Taylor before he fired his gun.
Ridinger's attorneys said as a policy, custom and practice, deputies at the Blount County Sheriff's Office don't announce themselves as law enforcement officers when performing property checks. Ridinger's attorneys also blamed the sheriff's office for not properly training Ragland to decipher when to use force.
The lawsuit also stated that Ragland and other officers tried to cover up what happened and failed to provide prompt medical care for Taylor.
Ragland has worked for the Blount County Sheriff's Office since December 2012 as a patrolman.
In the court documents, the wife is asking for unspecified damages to be determined at trial.