Seth Adams shooting: Family to sue Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, Sgt. Michael Custer

Family plans to file civil lawsuit

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -  The family of Seth Adams, the man shot and killed by a Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy, plans to file a civil lawsuit against the department and the deputy who pulled the trigger.

In May Sgt. Michael Custer was part of a six-member undercover surveillance team in the area of Loxahatchee Groves concerned about a series of ATM thefts unrelated to the Adams' property.

Investigators say Adams had come home from Boonies Restaurant and Lounge on Southern Boulevard around 11:30 p.m. and found Custer in the shop's parking lot and the two got into a confrontation in which Adams was shot and killed.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw says Adams lunged at Custer who ended up firing four shots.  

"Seth Adams' DNA is on the deputy's throat, right in the area where the deputy said he was choked," he said.  "It is also on the deputy's forearm, which is consistent with the deputy breaking the choke hold. That is physical evidence that backs up exactly what the deputy says happened," the sheriff said during a news conference Monday.

Findings by PBSO and the FDLE found the deputy was justified in his use of force.

The family questions the conclusion. They appeared at a news conference at their attorney's office in Palm Beach Gardens Tuesday.

They let their attorney do their speaking for them.

"Why was deadly force used on an unarmed man? There was no gun, there was no weapon, there was no flashlight, there was no flashing object, there was nothing even in the report that says 'this man has a weapon.' He was shot open armed," said attorney Brian LaBovick.

The family's attorney says there are many more questions that need to be answered about the night Seth Adams died.

The Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office also conducted an investigation. Paul Zacks, the Chief Assistant State Attorney, concluded that the deputy was "reasonably justified in discharging his firearm" and recommended the case be closed. The State Attorney must still act on the recommendation.

NewsChannel 5's Dan Corcoran contributed to this report.

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