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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The city of Oakland agreed Tuesday to pay $100,000 to a 19-year-old man who was left a quadriplegic after he was shot by a police officer who has been involved in two fatal shootings.
Ameir Rollins was shot in the neck on the 1800 block of East 25th Street on June 5, 2006, by Officer Pat Gonzales, who is now a sergeant. Gonzales and Officer Chris Sansone, who were members of an Oakland police crime reduction team, had responded moments earlier to reports of a shooting at Wallace and East 24th streets.
Police and city officials have said that Rollins was armed with a shotgun and that Gonzales had no choice but to shoot him.
"Defendants contend the shooting was reasonable and justified," Thomas Gelini, an attorney representing the city of Oakland, wrote in a court filing last month.
But Rollins' attorney, David Kelvin, said Tuesday that his client dropped the gun when Gonzales - who knew the youth - told him to. The teenager was then shot by Gonzales and "still, to this day, cannot understand why," Kelvin said.
"He was unarmed and cooperating when he was shot in the neck," Kelvin said. "He was 17 at the time, and is a quadriplegic with no prospect for recovery."
Rollins was hospitalized for a year and a half and will require full-time care for the rest of his life, Kelvin said. Medical expenses for Rollins have exceeded $2.7 million, a portion of which has been paid for by Medi-Cal, court records show.
Gonzales has come under renewed scrutiny because of his involvement in two other shootings, both of which were fatal.
In March 2002, Gonzales shot and killed Joshua Russell, 19, of Hayward after he and an accomplice tried to rob a man at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Burger King restaurant at 14th Avenue and East 12th Street.
On Sept. 20, Gonzales killed Gary King Jr., 20, of Oakland with a gunshot to his back near 54th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in North Oakland. King fit the description of a "person of interest" in an August killing, and a loaded gun was found on him, police have said.
King's parents, Gary and Catherine King, filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the city earlier this month, saying their son "did not pose a significant and immediate threat of death or serious physical injury" to the sergeant or others. The city has not yet responded to the suit in court.