Mother seeks answers to son’s death, shooting

Published 12:04 am Friday, May 25, 2012

NATCHEZ — The mother of a Natchez native who was shot to death by an Indiana state trooper is seeking answers for her son’s death.

Brenda Washington said she is troubled by the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of her son, Lucius D. Washington, who was shot to death in Fort Wayne, Ind., by a trooper who was reportedly attempting to break up a fight outside a nightclub in the early morning hours on May 18.

Indiana State Police public information officer Sgt. Ron Galaviz said on-duty trooper Seth W. Mann spotted multiple people beating up a man while driving on Main Street and stopped to intervene.

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Galaviz said the crowd, including Washington, began to scatter once Mann approached them. Washington reportedly began walking “hurriedly” away from the scene.

Mann reportedly told the crowd to stop fleeing, and Galaviz said all but Washington did. Mann then pursued Washington. He said the two men then had a physical altercation and Mann shot Washington at least once.

“What occurred from the altercation to the use of deadly force is being investigated,” Galaviz said.

The Allen County Coroner’s Office ruled Washington’s death a homicide, but Deputy Coroner Patt Kite said she could not disclose how many times Washington was shot because it was medical evidence in the investigation.

Brenda said she was told by Lucius’ roommate that witnesses who were at the scene the night of the shooting said Lucius was shot multiple times. Brenda said she was also told that Lucius was not involved in the fight outside of the club.

Galaviz said he did not know if Washington had any weapons on him the night of the shooting. He said Mann suffered from some bruises and scrapes from the altercation with Washington but did not require medical attention.

Mann is currently on paid administrative leave, Galaviz said, until an internal review and investigation can be completed by the Indiana State Police.

Mann, a U.S. Marine Corps reserve, has served as an Indiana state trooper for four and a half years and has no disciplinary action on his record, Galaviz said.

Lucius had prior drug convictions and a domestic battery conviction.

Brenda admits her son is not perfect, but she said he was trying to turn his life around.

“No one deserves to die like that,” she said as tears fell from her eyes.

Brenda said Lucius, who had a 4-year-old son named Cameron, moved to Fort Wayne five or six years ago. Lucius was a Natchez High School graduate and a very happy child, Brenda said.

“I will always remember his smile,” she said.

Brenda said she last saw Lucius four years ago and talked to him two months ago about coming back to Natchez.

“I missed him, and I asked him when he was coming back home,” she said.

Brenda said she is trying to raise money to bring Lucius’ body back to Natchez for the funeral. An account has been set up in Brenda’s name at Britton & Koontz bank for the transportation, funeral and burial expenses.

“I’m not looking for money from anyone for me,” she said. “I just want to bring my son home.”

Brenda said she needs approximately $2,500 more to cover the expenses. Anyone wishing to donate money for the expenses can do so at any Britton & Koontz location or at Bateaste Memorial Funeral Home.

Lucius’ funeral will be at noon Sunday at Grover A.M.E. Church on Lower Woodville Road.

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home.