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Stanislaus County will pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by survivors of a locksmith killed alongside a deputy sheriff in a 2012 eviction-gone-bad on Modesto’s Chrysler Drive.

The payment, made public Friday morning, is among the highest in lawsuits involving the Sheriff’s Department in Sheriff Adam Christianson’s 10-year tenure.

“Neither the County, nor the Sheriff or his deputies, were responsible in any way for the intentional acts of the shooter Jim Ferrario, who ambushed and murdered” locksmith Glendon Engert and Deputy Bob Paris, said County Counsel John Doering. “We understand the tragic loss suffered by the Engert family because we too suffered the loss of one of our own, and no amount of settlement will fully compensate for those losses.”

IT WAS IMPORTANT TO RESOLVE THE LAWSUIT TO COMPLETE THE HEALING PROCESS.

John Doering, Stanislaus County Counsel

The survivors and their San Francisco attorney were not immediately available for comment.

The lawsuit, filed three years ago in federal court, contended that the 35-year-old locksmith was owed better protection from Paris, 53, and his partner, since-retired Deputy Mike Glinskas, who had been warned about the gunman’s instability and military-grade weapons but did not share the alert with Engert.

Occupant Jim Ferrario, 45, had lost through foreclosure a fourplex unit where he lived many years with his father when the deputies arrived to evict Ferrario and secure the property for the new owner. Engert was trying to disable a heavy security door lock when Ferrario, using a high-powered assault rifle, fired from inside, killing Paris and Engert. A lengthy standoff ended when the home went up in flames, ignited by Ferrario, who committed suicide surrounded by a cache of weapons and ammunition.

“The incident affected all those involved and it was important to resolve the lawsuit to complete the healing process,” Doering said. “In the end, there are no winners in this tragedy.”

$1.5 millionAmount county will pay to end lawsuit

$1.2 millionMediation award to victim of 2008 crash with deputy sheriff

The settlement was produced in mediation and includes $1.38 million in cash to be shared by Engert’s widow, Irina, and parents, Ronnie and Anne, plus a $115,637 annuity providing $500 monthly payments to the parents beginning Feb. 1 and continuing for 25 years.

The new property owner previously settled out of court for $230,000.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence O’Neill agreed last year that Engert might not have died if the officers had done things differently; for example, the deputies should not have told Engert to resume drilling the lock after he paused and told them he thought he heard something inside the home, the judge said.

The county admits no wrongdoing in the settlement, which the county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved behind closed doors “to settle and dispose of any and all claims to avoid further expense, inconvenience, distraction, uncertainty and burden of protracted litigation,” the document reads.

Amazing that they always will not admit wrongdoing when they pay out millions of dollars. The payout itself is an admission.

This took 4 years and Mrs. Engbert was shamefully disparaged by our local leaders.

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