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Family of woman shot by Indian River County Sheriff's Deputy files wrongful death lawsuit

Posted at 7:39 PM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-10 19:39:58-04

STUART, Fla. -- One year after a woman was shot and killed by an Indian River County Sheriff's deputy, her husband and children have filed a multi-million dollar federal wrongful death lawsuit.

Flanked by members of the Teel family, attorney Guy Rubin announced a $10 million federal wrongful death lawsuit against the Indian River County Sheriff's Office alleging negligence and civil rights violations.

"This case illustrates all the things that police response should not do," said Rubin, inside the Rubin & Rubin Law Office in Stuart.

The lawsuit named Sheriff Deryl Loar and Deputy Jonathan Lozada after a year-long investigation.

It stems from a 911 call on July 26, 2017. Lozada responded the the Teel's home for a suicide attempt. 

62-year-old Susan Teel struggled with mental illness. That night Rubin said she was under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol and was armed with a knife. Lozada shot her three times, but the sheriff's office says it was self-defense.

"She immediately got off the bed, raised her left hand and I observed the large knife over her head and she started walking towards me," said Dep. Lozada, during an internal affairs investigation.

Rubin called the deputy "inexperienced" and accused him of inciting the situation and facilitating a suicide by cop.

In January, the case went in front of a grand jury which decided not to indict Lozada on criminal charges for shooting Teel. Still, the Teel family is demanding answers.

"It will be about accountability. It will be about truth between the people we trust with guns and badges and the citizens," Rubin said.

The Teel family did not take any questions during the press conference.

WPTV reached out to the Indian River County's Sheriff's Office and a spokesman said they do not comment on pending civil litigation.

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