at "point-blank range."
"I think the evidence was quite clear from the beginning that Officer
Smith shot in self-defense," said Neal Moore, attorney for Smith and the
city. 'I personally believe there was never any basis for this lawsuit in
the first place."
Police said Blackman was shot and killed by Smith on April 22, 1999,
when the officer responded to a domestic violence call at Ulmer's
then-apartment in the 18700 block of Libra Circle.
Once there, Blackman was challenged by Smith, who stuck his hand in
his pocket to simulate a gun and threatened the officer, Moore said,
adding that Smith fired only as Blackman charged at him.
Witnesses told police they heard Smith yell "stop" twice to Blackman
before he was shot, Moore said.
Investigations by the Orange County Sheriff's Department and a review
by the Orange County district attorney's office found no evidence of
wrongdoing on Smith's part.
Ulmer, Blackman's estranged girlfriend and mother of his 6-year-old
daughter, filed a wrongful death claim against the city in October 1999.
The lawsuit, which was a result of this claim, was filed in February. The
claim alleged that Blackman was unarmed with his "hands in the air," and
was shot by Smith while other officers looked on.
Moore, however, said Smith was alone when Blackman challenged him.
The case was to go to trial Nov. 13, with Ulmer, who filed the claim
on behalf of her daughter, seeking $80 million from the city.
Ulmer's attorney, Gary Kessler, did not return phone calls Tuesday.