Dave Rice 7:30 a.m., Feb. 28
Woman sues Sheriff's Deputy and Department after she was shot in her own backyard
Jennifer Orey was shot outside her house while deputies searched for a suspected prowler.
One day after the August 19, 2012 shooting, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore told KGTV the bullet fired by one of his deputies only grazed Jennifer Lynn Orey's arm and amounted to nothing more than a "scratched pinky."
Orey on the other hand admitted her pinky finger was hit by the bullet fired by a San Diego County Sheriff's Deputy while they searched for a suspected prowler in Orey's backyard but only after said bullet traveled through her chest and bicep and ultimately her finger.
The two diverging accounts, summed up in a article by the Huffington Post, will finally come together in a courtroom.
On May 1, Orey filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff's Department and County of San Diego for injuries suffered as a result of the accidental shooting.
The incident occurred after residents reported a prowler was spotted lurking in a Spring Valley neighborhood. The search led deputies into Orey's backyard. At the same time Orey had gone into her own backyard to look for the prowler. There the two parties met. And it was then that Sheriff's Deputy Luke Berhalter accidentally fired on Orey.
From the lawsuit:
As Ms. Orey stepped outside to investigate the source of the noise and approached the area from where the sounds emanated, she announced herself as the homeowner...Defendant Deputy Berhalter...emerged from Ms. Orey's back yard, as an uninvited and unannounced trespasser/interloper from behind an open gate separating Ms. Orey's front yard and back yard. Deputy Berhalter's gun was drawn and pointed at Ms. Orey. Before ascertaining Ms. Orey's identity or whether Ms. Orey posed a threat to anyone, Deputy Berhalter fired his gun at Ms. Orey, striking her in the chest, arm and hand, resulting in serious injuries.
According to the lawsuit, Orey filed a claim with the Sheriff's Department in September. That claim was later denied.
Orey looks to recoup damages suffered as a result of the shooting.
As a further proximate result of Defendants, and each of their conduct, Ms. Orey has sustained injuries to her health, strength and activity, as well as to her person, all of which injuries have caused, and will continue to cause Ms. Orey great physical and mental pain and suffering, including but not limited to humiliation, fear, pain, discomfort, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress. As a result of such injuries, Ms. Orey has suffered general damages in excess of the minimum jurisdiction amount of this Court. The exact amount of these expenses is not known to the Plaintiff at this time, and Plaintiff will move to amend this complaint to state said amount of when it becomes known to them, or on proof thereof.
According to a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Department, Deputy Berhalter is still with the force.
Click here to read the lawsuit: