Breaking News
More () »

Family files wrongful death tort claim after Lawrence police shoot, kill suspect

Police claim Carlos Trotter refused commands as they approached the car and then pulled a weapon. That is when an officer fired a shot at Trotter, hitting him once.

LAWRENCE, Indiana — The family of a man who was shot and killed by police after a chase in Lawrence plans to sue for battery, excessive force, wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence and negligent training.

Jeff Cardella, a criminal defense attorney and expungement lawyer, shared the tort claim with 13News on behalf of Carlos Trotter, Shirley Trotter and the estate of Carlos Trotter.

(NOTE: The video above is from a previous report on the suspect being identified.)

The tort claim is addressed to the following people and departments: 

  • Lawrence Police Chief Gary Woodruff
  • Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier
  • IMPD Chief Randal Taylor
  • Director of Public Safety Karl Oltz
  • Indiana Political Subdivision Risk Management Commission
  • ISP Superintendent Doug Carter
  • Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita

"The family of Carlos Trotter suffered emotional distress as a result of the death. Additionally, Shirley Trotter, the mother, was unable to receive a kidney transplant from her son due to his premature death," the tort claim reads.

“My son was donating his kidney to me,” Shirley Trotter told 13News on Tuesday. “I have heart failure and kidney failure. I have both. So, I am barely making it.” 

Since his death, Shirley said she has learned very little about what happened.  

“It doesn’t make any sense because he would do anything for anybody. That’s what hurts me,” she said.  

On Oct. 27, Lawrence police said a chase started near East 56th Street and Pendleton Pike around 3 p.m. when police said they spotted a white Nissan that was reported stolen in Indianapolis.

Police said three people were in the car and it first pulled over when officers tried to stop it. Police said the driver, later identified as Carlos, refused to show his hands and then drove away.

When Carlos got near East 56th Street and Pendleton Pike, police said he slowed down enough for the two passengers to get out.

The chase lasted about 10 minutes until the suspect's car crashed near East 30th Street and North Shadeland Avenue.

Police claim Carlos refused commands as they approached the car and then pulled a weapon. That is when an officer fired a shot at Carlos, hitting him once. He was rushed to the hospital and later died. 

Police said they recovered Carlos' weapon from inside the car.

Credit: Shirley Trotter
Carlos Trotter

That day, police came to Shirley’s house to inform her of her son’s death. As soon she opened the door, Shirley said she fainted.  

“I just don’t understand it. They have to watch who they are hurting out here,” Shirley said.  

Shirley and her family are now looking for accountability saying they have a lot more questions than answers.  

“All I ask for is justice,” Shirley said.  

The officer who fired the shot was placed on administrative duty, pending the outcome of the investigation and administrative procedural review.

Lawrence police said no officers were injured.

The Lawrence Police Department shared the following response with 13News in regards to the tort claim: 

We have been made aware of a tort claim notice being filed by an attorney representing the family of Carlos Trotter. Our Legal representatives will work through that process, following all applicable laws.

It would be inappropriate for us to offer further comment, pending the ongoing investigation, and legal process.

Cardella asked anyone with information that could be helpful and relevant to the case can reach out anonymously through his law office's website.

Before You Leave, Check This Out