- Did He Go For the Gun? Day One of the Tommy McClain Wrongful Death Suit Against the City of Eureka
- McCLAIN TRIAL, DAY TWO: Emotional Day in Court as Officers Testify About the Moment Tommy McClain Was Killed
- McCLAIN TRIAL, DAY THREE: ‘It Should Have Been Considered a Murder,’ Slain Man’s Family Member Testifies
There was a flood of tears today at the federal courthouse as Lance McClain and Jeanne Barragan spoke of their son’s death at the hands of Eureka police.
McClain and Barragan, parents of 22-year-old Tommy McClain, wept openly as they testified during trial in the wrongful death suit they filed against the city of Eureka and Officer Stephen Linfoot.
“Me and my son were tight. He was my everything,” the elder McClain said. “He was my friend. We were tight … real close.” Lance McClain, a resident of Madera, Calif., sobbed that losing his son has devastated his life.
“It’s affected everything about me. Nothing’s the same. It’s just created a black hole inside my soul. He was my only child. He’s all that I ever wanted.”
Linfoot shot Tommy McClain to death shortly after midnight on Sept. 17, 2014, in McClain’s front yard on Allard Avenue. The officer listened intently today to the bereaved parents’ testimony. He has said he shot in self-defense as McClain was reaching for a gun stuffed in his pants. Although he believes he made the right decision when he opened fire, he sympathizes with the family.
who lives in Fresno with her husband and their children, said her
life has been profoundly changed by the slaying of her oldest child.
She described Tommy as funny, full of life, always smiling and happy,
a lover of animals and children. She said her son had no criminal
was so excited when he moved to Eureka, she said, and he was elated
when he got a job with a local roofing company.
shared his excitement and I was proud of him” Barragan said.
was Tommy’s aunt who called and told her Tommy had been killed. She
drove to Eureka and arranged his funeral, which was held in Fresno.
She recalls that time as “a blur.”
was very emotional,” Barragan told plaintiffs’ attorney Dale
Galipo. “I was angry. When someone dies, basically your heart
She said she and her son had always joked about him having to change her diapers someday. Instead, she was burying him.
had no idea what he would have wanted, because they had never
discussed his death.
didn’t even know whether he wanted to be buried or cremated,”
under questioning by Galipo, said she paid more than $6,300 in
funeral expenses. She also received bills from the ambulance company
and the hospital where her son was declared dead.
said “everything” reminds her of her lost child, and she
will never be the same.
“No, I lost a piece of me,” she said. “There’s no more to lose. My heart is broken. This is the worst pain ever.”
Attorney Nancy Delaney, representing the city, expressed her condolences to both parents and apologized that she needed to question them as part of her job.
McClain, 46, confirmed to Delaney that he hadn’t seen his son for
seven months before his death. The father also said he had not been
employed since 2005 and was not on disability. And at one time he,
his 38-year-old brother and Tommy McClain had all been living with
Lance McClain’s mother.
questioned by Delaney, said her son was “a few credits” shy of
high school graduation. He grew up living with her, but when he
turned 18 or 19 they agreed that he needed to go to school or work.
At that point he moved in with his father in Madera, where he
apparently stayed until he moved to Eureka.
The civil case is expected to go the jury as early as Friday.
THE TOMMY MCCLAIN INCIDENT:
- Eureka Police Officer Involved in Fatal Shooting
- Eureka Police Officer-Involved Shooting Victim Named
- A Gathering For Tommy (PHOTOS/VIDEO)
- The Death of Tommy McClain: What Happened in Wednesday’s Officer-Involved Shooting
- The Last Hours: Countdown to the Death of Tommy McClain
- LIVE: The Eureka Police Department Press Conference on the Shooting of Tommy McClain
- In an Eerie Coincidence, the EPD Peaceably Arrested a Man Brandishing a Realistic Toy Pistol Right Before Yesterday’s Press Conference
- Eureka Police Department Promotions Doled Out at Wharfinger Building Ceremony; Small Protest Outside
- DA: No Charges Will Be Filed Against Officer for Death of Tommy McClain
- Attorney in Martin Cotton Case to File Wrongful Death Claim in EPD Shooting of Tommy McClain
- Civil Lawsuit Filed Against City of Eureka, Police for Shooting Death of Tommy McClain
- Eureka Police Shooting Death Case Heads to Trial
- Evidence of Drunkenness Unlikely to be Admitted in Case Against Eureka Officer Who Shot, Killed Tommy McClain
Outpost contributor Rhonda Parker previously covered courts for the Times-Standard.