Victim caught in crossfire clarifies potential lawsuit

Posted at 10:33 PM, Apr 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 00:33:29-04

The innocent bystander who was injured in the February shooting that killed El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Micah Flick filed a notice of claim seeking at least $1,000,000 from the county and city last week.

But the attorney for Thomas Villanueva says there is no lawsuit on the table at this time and that he supports the city and county’s law enforcement officers and this is simply a formality to protect himself further down the road.

"I’m just glad that I have my life still," Villanueva said in an interview with News 5 back in February.

Villanueva was the innocent bystander caught in the crossfire, the day Deputy Flick was killed and two other officers were injured two months ago.

"No warning, nothing like that," he said. "I fell, I broke my eye, chipped my tooth, I didn’t know exactly what happened, I couldn’t feel my legs, I was just laying there for awhile."

His attorney, Dr. Joseph Ramos tells News 5 the 28-year-old is paralyzed from the chest down and will likely never walk again.

He’s still in the hospital, racking up countless medical bills.

"They’re beyond anything you can imagine ever paying for, I can tell you that," Dr. Ramos said.

So last week, they filed a notice of claim they might seek at least $1,000,000 in damages from both the city and county.

Then, a number of negative comments about that were posted online, so they want to set the record straight… this is not a money grab.

"I can tell you that Thomas is a very intelligent person and he would have been as far away from this situation as possible if he had any idea of what was going down, he was truly an innocent bystander," he said.

Dr. Ramos says they haven’t filed suit, but this notice is a way to preserve his right to sue down the road if the law enforcement officials are found to be negligent.

His case falling under the Governmental Immunity Act, which gives you only six months to file and this investigation could take longer than that.

"If there is a claim here, we’ve now officially preserved it and now we have a couple years where we can look into it or he can find out information or he can have his questions answered as opposed to having that six months go by," he said.

And he says, Villanueva still holds these deputies and officers to the highest regard, as he told News 5 only days after being shot.

"I feel bad for everybody that got shot, I feel bad for the officer that died too, I wish I wasn’t there, I wish they weren’t there either," Villanueva said.

The Colorado Springs Police Department’s Deadly Force Investigation Team is the lead agency on this investigation but it could take several more months to complete before it is handed over to the District Attorney’s office.