On Thursday (March 4), the family of Charley McMurtry filed a $15 million claim against the California Highway Patrol for negligence and wrongful death after he was shot and killed by one of its officers last month.
"They took him, they took my love, my person," Ann McMurtry told ABC 7.
The McMurtry family, alongside their attorney, held a press conference to announce the filing. On February 5, McMurtry’s family said Charley suffered a mental health breakdown while driving with his wife along the I-10 freeway in Upland near San Bernardino.
"He was calling out for help and was in need of help,” said John Sweeney, the family's attorney, according to ABC 7. “He started to cut himself with a knife."
McMurtry, a Marine Corps veteran who served three years at Camp Pendleton, suffered PTSD as a result of his service, his wife says. After he slashed himself, she pulled over and called 9-1-1 for help.
"When he got out of that car I was expecting him to be treated with respect and dignity for the sake of all of us or some of us... he was in a deep crisis and they shot him," said McMurtry.
CHP said officers shot McMurty after he aggressively approached officers and failed to comply with commands to drop the knife in his possession.
"This officer put himself in this position,” said Sweeney. “All he had to do was stand back and wait for the professionals to come.”
The California Highway Patrol has 45 days to respond to the claim before lawyers for McMurty’s family file a lawsuit.