A jury yesterday ruled in favor of the City of Homer and three Homer Police officers who were accused of acting recklessly during a 2006 shootout at the Homer Airport.
The eight-member jury decided not to award any money to the plaintiff, Cherry Dietzmann, who had sought 23-million dollars in compensation for severe injuries caused to her son, Jason Anderson, Jr.
The case stems from a chaotic scene that unfolded at the airport when U.S. Marshalls, working with Homer Police and Alaska State Troopers, attempted to apprehend 31-year-old Jason Anderson, Sr., a wanted drug felon from Minnesota who had fled to Homer.
The marshals lured Anderson to the airport after convincing him there was a problem with his rented Jeep Cherokee. When police cornered him, he pulled a handgun and three Homer Police officers returned fire. Anderson, Sr. was killed during the resulting shootout and his then-two-year-old son, Jason Anderson, Jr., was shot in the head. The boy lost sight in one eye and suffered brain damage that has required 24-hour medical care ever since.
Dietzmann’s attorneys said in court that she had warned the marshals that Anderson was armed and had threatened to hurt his own children. Attorneys also refuted findings from the state medical examiner, claiming that the bullet that hit Anderson, Junior had been fired by Homer Police Officer William Hutt and not by Anderson, Sr.
In 2011, Dietzmann settled a separate lawsuit against the U.S. Marshals for $3.5 million dollars. Homer City Attorney Thomas Klinkner says the city tried to reach a settlement with Dietzmann but to no avail.
The jury reached its verdict Tuesday afternoon, following a month-long trial.