Paralyzed bystander sues law enforcement agencies and officers for shooting

It's a somber anniversary.

One year has now passed since El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Micah Flick was shot and killed in the line of duty while trying to arrest a suspected car thief in Colorado Springs.

Three other officers were also shot. So was an innocent bystander. Thomas Villanueva is now paralyzed from the chest down.

"He had a shattered vertebrae. He had a collapsed lung. He lost massive amounts of blood. He must use a catheter to urinate. He must have the assistance of a lift to get into his bed," said Villanueva's attorney, Joseph Ramos.

Now, one year later, Villanueva has filed a lawsuit. He claims his injuries could have been avoided. The 30 page lawsuit details some of the critical mistakes Villanueva's attorneys say law enforcement made.

"I can't imagine any Colorado family who if put in a similar situation would not have some serious questions as to how this occurred," said Ramos. "That day no one yelled 'police, hands up.' No one had any insignia to indicate they were a police officer," Ramos said.

Villanueva was just a few feet away and was shot in the cross fire by the car thief authorities were trying to arrest.

"Some people have said Thomas was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Others have said it was just bad luck. It was neither," Ramos said.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office, the Colorado Springs Police Department, and Colorado State Patrol are all named in the suit, as well as all of the individual law enforcement officers who responded that day. That includes the estate of Deputy Micah Flick.

"The last thing we wanted to do was involve Officer Flick in that, but because the law mandates it, because Thomas' ability to get any assistance could be thrown out, we were forced to include him, but we have asked the county to accept responsibility to Officer Flick and all the other officers can immediately be released," said Ramos.

Villanueva is now receiving hate mail for his decision to sue individual officers and the estate of Deputy Flick.

"Here's one," said Joseph Ramos. "So glad you're ugly ass is paralyzed. Who writes that kind of thing?"

Ramos says his client wants to receive the same compensation a deputy paralyzed on the job would receive. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.

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