Family Of Man Killed While Shooting At Cops Files $10M 'Wrongful Death' Lawsuit

Theoddeus Gray was out on bond for federal drug charges when he opened fire on St. Clair Shores police.

St. Clair Shores, MI – The family of an alleged drug dealer who was fatally shot by police during a gunfight outside his baby shower has filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against the St. Clair Shores Police Department (SCSPD).

St. Clair Shores Police K9 Axe was also fatally shot during the altercation, after 29-year-old Theoddeus Gray opened fire on police with an FN57 5.7mm handgun.

The Macomb County Sheriff’s Office determined that the officers’ use of deadly force was justified, MLive reported.

In the federal lawsuit, Gray’s family alleged that St. Clair Shores police executed him after he had already surrendered.

In addition to the SCSPD, the family is also suing the city and the five officers involved in the altercation, attorney Vince Colella said in a press release, according to MLive.

“The abbreviated three-week investigation was woefully inadequate to fully investigate the murder of this young man,” Colella said. “Through this lawsuit, it will become clear that investigators failed to collect evidence, obtain witness statements, and in some cases, disregarded critical information, resulting in the officers avoiding criminal responsibility.”

The lawsuit also alleged that Gray was unarmed when he was shot.

The handgun was found beneath his body, and a loaded AK-47 rifle was recovered near the banquet hall, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said during a press conference in December of 2018.

The fatal encounter occurred on Nov. 4, 2018, after Gray got into an argument with his pregnant girlfriend’s family at the banquet hall where the celebration was being held, the Detroit Free Press reported at the time.

According to investigators, Gray was agitated during the event, and expected that a fight or confrontation would take place, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said during the press conference.

Multiple party guests were also in possession of weapons.

“There was gonna be a shoot-out in St. Clair Shores that night,” Sheriff Wickersham said.

At approximately 6:30 p.m., a Lakeland Manor Banquet Hall staff member called police to report that there was a man with a rifle outside the building.

About 70 people were inside the banquet hall at the time.

“Upon officer arrival, a male matching this description was observed standing outside the banquet hall," the St. Clair Shores Police Department said in an initial news release, according to the Detroit Free Press. "The male ignored several demands from officers and attempted to flee the scene on foot."

K9 Axe began chasing after the suspect, who was later identified as Gray, Sheriff Wickersham explained.

Gray then pulled his FN57 5.7mm handgun from his waistband, and fired at the officers once.

The officers took cover and returned fire, hitting Gray as he continued to run, the sheriff said.

Police repeatedly ordered the suspect to drop his weapon, but he raised his gun to fire at the officers yet again, according to Sheriff Wickersham.

The officers fired their weapons at the suspect, who ultimately collapsed to the ground.

Gray was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, WXYZ reported.

According to Sheriff Wickersham, officers shot more than 47 times and the gunman was hit a total of six times in both thighs, the head, the left side of his back, the left arm, and the right foot, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Investigators later determined that Gray’s weapon jammed after he fired the initial shot.

"If the gun didn't jam, he had 20 more rounds to fire at law enforcement," said the sheriff, who noted that Gray’s gun was the same type of weapon the department’s SWAT team uses.

K9 Ace, who was also fatally struck by gunfire during the encounter, was ultimately located by a side door at Lakeland Manor, Sheriff Wickersham said.

He was rushed to an animal hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Sheriff Wickersham said it is unclear whose weapon fired the round that killed K9 Ace.

"[Gray’s family does] not believe that their son was armed at the time of the shooting, and no forensics or ballistics have been released concerning the dog that would link a gun or a bullet to any weapon that may have been in possession of Theoddeus," Colella told WJBK at the time.

According to The Detroit News, Gray was out on bond due to a federal drug case at the time of the shootout.

Just days prior to his death, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents executed search warrants at a hotel in Bismarck, North Dakota, and arrested Gray for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

“He was found with an estimated 1,000 doses of oxycodone inside a prophylactic hidden inside a pillow,” Assistant Attorney General Julie Lawyer told The Detroit News. “He told agents he had come to North Dakota to sell drugs in the past and was owed $10,000 from individuals on the Fort Berthold reservation.”

Gray had also been trafficking drugs from Detroit to Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, police said.

On the day of the baby shower, Gray learned that a person he owed a drug debt to was heading to the banquet hall with three other people, investigators said.

Gray became upset due to the potential threat, grabbed his handgun, and went outside looking for them just before police arrived.

The federal drug case was ultimately dismissed in the wake of Gray’s death.

Sheriff Wickersham said the department sent letters to Gray’s family in an attempt to speak with them about the shooting investigation, but that they never replied, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Colella disputed the sheriff’s claim, and said the family has “nothing further to add to the investigation.”

“The onus is on the department to take those witness statements,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “It's not up to the family to do the investigation for them."

Colella said that the family resorted to filing the wrongful death lawsuit because it was the only way they figured they could ever get justice for Gray’s death, MLive reported.

“Litigation will shed light on these and numerous other troubling issues, and the public will know the truth as we show that the killing of Theoddeus Gray was unjustified, unconscionable and in blatant violation of his civil rights,” he declared.

Comments (48)
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Memere
Memere

I really hope that they do not get a settlement to pay them!! Too many times these people win their suits so other ignorant people think they can do the same thing. It does not send a very good message. Our LEO's need to be supported by the courts,!!

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

I'm sure everyone there was good boys, the guns weren't theirs and were planted there by OJ's friend Kato, they were all altar boys growing up and this "simple" matter can be settled out of court. Good lord family get ahold of yourselves! Your kid was nothing but a thug and deserved what he got! You point a gun at a cop and you get what's coming to you quick - divine retribution, not a pay day!

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

The Ballad of Theo Gray--

"Tuff" guy.

So sly.

He lie.

Shot high.

Nice try.

He die.

Bye bye.

No cry.

Cidcsp
Cidcsp

Really sad to hear about the K-9 fatality.

LEO0301
LEO0301

This has nothing to do with justice. The bottom line is the family believes they have won what everyone wants nowadays....the elusive ghetto lottery. New house, cars, maybe a boat, and more new friends then they know what to do with.

Ghost31289
Ghost31289

Man, I’m thinking of becoming a criminal defense lawyer and just use the strategy they all seem to use; ‘your client was killed when he opened fire on police with an illegal handgun’ ‘Nope, didn’t happen. He didn’t even have a gun’ ‘They recovered it under his body, at the scene’ ‘Nope. Didn’t exist’

Easy money

KevinSR
KevinSR

"it was the only way they figured they could ever get justice for Gray’s death" Really ! Maybe if he had not had an illegal gun on him and he had not ran from LEO and shot at them he would be alive. It is his own damn fault he is dead and the family is just looking for a big payday and justice has nothing to do with it. If they really believe it is justice they are seeking then they need a mental institution. The attorney is nothing but a greedy attorney looking to make a name and score a payday also.

MFLindsey
MFLindsey

Black Lies Matter. . .

Mpride
Mpride

And buy/sell more drugs and guns. What a dream! (snarky)

HFD120
HFD120

Attorney only wants justice..oh, and his $3,000,000+ commission.

Lovesthelaw
Lovesthelaw

Another scum bag down an out for the count.

Nikobill7453
Nikobill7453

YOU CAN'T BE PAID FOR EVIL!

Sgt Rock
Sgt Rock

Theodeuss Dindo Nuffin Gray, taking a dirt nap. Thank you, St. Claire Shores PD. RIP Officer Axe.

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

Ghetto lottery application

stooge819
stooge819

After all, what's a baby shower without catered food, a cash bar, and an armory.

BlueProtects
BlueProtects

These bogus get rich quick hopefuls by riding the political correctness crap needs to stop. Our Court system is severely backed up due to these kind of fantasy cases. If these kind of cases dont stop then it should go the other way as well. When a Cop is killed then the murderer and family should be sued by the Cop's surviving beneficiary. This should hold true to all kind of these bogus fantasy cases. Like they say What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

61mouse
61mouse

Thanks SCUMBAMMA

Stanracer
Stanracer

Another big winner in the ghetto lottery????

Ladyfluterby
Ladyfluterby

Of course they filed the lawsuit, the family lost their source of income. Doesn't matter if it was illegal income or if it was blood money because drugs kill. What matters is the loss of family income.

slo1942
slo1942

One less THUG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No. 26-34
HAWAIIBLUE
HAWAIIBLUE

If this fuckin poor excuse of citizens win, then the system is seriously fucked. The nerve of these idiots to sue.

Woobie46
Woobie46

I have to wonder...how to these filthy, useless, cretin lawyers live with themselves? How do they sleep ever? They are 1/2 of the problem and they should be charged as accessories.

Woobie46
Woobie46

What I fear is that the city will settle because they don't want to waste money defending their actions. IT is NEVER a waste of money to defend the cops when they are so CLEARLY IN THE RIGHT! Sue the family and then sue the lawyer and then sue them all over again. Maybe these low life scummers will learn when they gotta pay for bringing up their scummer son to be a drug dealer and a potential cop killer.

Saints
Saints

My suggestion.. IF anyone wants to file this frivolous lawsuit's "they should pay for every penny" and open up to be counter sued, along with the scam bag LAWYER'S!!!!!!......

HH3
HH3

Tort reform - loser pays!!!! Then those lawyers will go else where. IF they lose they also have to pay. No more frivolous lawsuits.