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Published: Saturday, 6/16/2007

Kin sue in death of court deputy

The family of a Lucas County court deputy who shot and killed himself May 29 filed a lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court yesterday, saying that crews responding to the scene "breached their duty by failing to exercise reasonable care to make attempts to peacefully apprehend Rocky Cutlip, Jr."

The lawsuit, which asks for monetary damages in excess of $25,000, said that emergency crews were called to Mr. Cutlip's house on Lehman Avenue after he called 911 saying he was suicidal. Responders included Toledo police and Lucas County sheriff's personnel.

Once crews were on the scene, "no reasonable attempts were made to peacefully apprehend" Mr. Cutlip, the lawsuit said.

Instead, the Toledo Police Department's directed patrol unit attempted to fire a "stun grenade" into the window of the room where Mr. Cutlip was, but missed and hit the house.

"It is believed this action provoked Rocky Cutlip, Jr., to fire one round of ammunition, which struck his head and ended his life," the lawsuit said.

Mr. Cutlip, 36, was a court deputy unit manager who oversaw the court's probation department. He had two children.

Named in the lawsuit are the City of Toledo, the Toledo Police Department, the Toledo Police Department's directed patrol unit, the Lucas County Sheriff's Office, the Lucas County Sheriff's Department's critical response team, and Sheriff James Telb.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Cook.

Also filed with the lawsuit were motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction asking that the judge order the city of Toledo to not "discard, destroy, or otherwise make tangible evidence unavailable."

Included in the request were all radio and audio transmissions used by both the Toledo Police Department and the Lucas County Sheriff's Office as well as the 911 calls and all "documents, recordings, reports, photographs, or notes" related to the incident.

"The death of Rocky Cutlip, Jr., was tragic," the lawsuit said. "Plaintiff believes this tragedy could have been avoided had Defendants not been negligent."

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