Officer-Involved Killing Prompts Lawsuit

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The family of a 21-year-old Sparks man who was shot to death by a deputy when he fled a court appearance for disturbing the peace has filed a lawsuit against the city, Washoe County and law officers.

Ian Dunwoodie's family filed the wrongful death suit in Washoe County District Court seeking unspecified damages.

District Attorney Richard Gammick's concluded yesterday that that sheriff's deputy Luke Miller was justified in killing Dunwoodie on Jan. 28.

Gammick said at least one person was in imminent danger when Dunwoodie sped off, dragging a security guard underneath his car and aiming the car at Deputy Miller.

Chris Phipps, a lawyer for the Dunwoodies, says the use of force was unnecessary. He says the officers should have let him leave the scene after trying to detain him when they smelled alcohol on his breath in violation of his probation.

Dunwoodie was to have appeared on a disturbing the peace charge that day. He earlier had pleaded no contest to a charge of driving under the influence in March and received a 61-day suspended sentence.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)