Page police officer Shawn Wilson “acted with an evil mind and evil hand” when he shot and killed local businessman William Foust on Father’s Day 2011, according to a claim by Foust’s widow and two daughters, who have filed a federal lawsuit against Wilson and city officials.
The claim, which served as a precursor to the lawsuit, asks for $6.7 million in damages for Toni Foust, who witnessed the June 19 shooting in the parking lot of the couple’s business, B&T Marine, and Brynn D’Avello and Shannon Foust, Mr. Foust’s daughters from a previous marriage.
The suit was filed last month in the U.S. District Court for Arizona, but the city has not yet been served notice, said city attorney Robert Wingo, who declined to comment on the suit.
The family is alleging that Wilson acted negligently and failed to follow proper police procedure, which led to the wrongful death of Foust.
The city and the police department were negligent in their hiring, training and supervision of Wilson, according to the complaint.
In addition to claiming wrongful death, the family alleges officials violated Foust’s civil rights.
The Coconino County Attorney declined to charge Wilson with either second-degree murder or manslaughter in a report issued Aug. 12, 2011, finding that there was “substantial evidence to support a conclusion that the shooting of Foust by Wilson was justified.”
Prosecutors found no likelihood of conviction at trial, according to the report.
The 13-page document details all the evidence of the case including eye-witness statements, an interview with Wilson, tape recordings of the dispatch communications, descriptions of photographs of the scene and a description of a video recording of the shooting.
Wilson had a video camera affixed to his uniform and in use during his entire encounter with Foust.
Wilson responded to B&T Marine after receiving a 911 call from Toni Foust. She had called to complain about a dispute she and her husband were having.
Wilson was talking to Toni when Bill entered the shop and began arguing with Wilson, according to the report. The officer asked Toni to step outside so they could continue talking.
Moments later, while Toni and Wilson were outside, Foust exited from the back of the shop and walked over to his truck.
Wilson asked Foust to wait because he wanted to talk to him. Foust put the truck in reverse and turned the wheels sharply to the right, almost striking Wilson, according to reports.
Wilson believed this to be an attack against him, according to his interview. Wilson asked Foust to get out of the truck.
He began to get out of the truck, so Wilson readied his Taser. But then Foust got back in the truck and started driving, according to reports.
Wilson attempted to open the truck door. Foust exited the truck while yelling at Wilson.
Wilson attempted to shoot the man with his Taser, but he was unsuccessful.
Foust and Wilson then fought over the Taser, with Foust gaining the upper hand and control of the weapon, according to reports.
After the scuffle, Wilson believed Foust had the Taser, although it was actually on the ground, and was going to use it against him, and that the man might then also take his gun and use that against him.
Wilson shot his gun at Foust twice without verbally warning Foust beforehand, other than by saying “I’m done.”
According to Wilson’s statements, he said “I’m done” because he believed his life might soon end.
His shots struck Foust in the chest and the head.
After the shooting, the Taser was not found in or near Foust’s hand; it was found near the truck, where the scuffle took place.
Page Police Department had 32 previous contacts with the Fousts since 1996, according to the report.
In an interview with Wilson, he said he knew who Foust and Toni were because they owned a business, but added that he had not had a lot of personal contact with either of them.
However, a couple of the witness statements do not corroborate that. Two witnesses commented that Wilson and Foust had a long-standing relationship and did not get along.
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