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Family of man killed by Concord police announce lawsuit against department

The mother of Brandon Combs, who was shot and killed by the Concord Police Department in February, announced the lawsuit Tuesday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The family of Brandon Combs, who was shot and killed by a then-Concord Police Department officer in February, announced Tuesday a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department.

Virginia Tayara, the mother of Combs, and her attorneys announced the lawsuit outside the federal courthouse in Charlotte Tuesday.

"They took my son. They murdered him in cold blood," Tayara said previously. "I just want the officer held accountable and I want the city of Concord to make some changes in how they make police business."

On Feb. 13, Combs was shot five times by Timothy Larson, who was working for the Concord Police Department. Larson reportedly observed Combs trying to steal a vehicle from the Modern Nissan car dealership. According to the lawsuit, Combs was unarmed.

From February: Burglary suspect shot, killed by police in Concord, authorities say

Larson reportedly demanded Combs put his hands up and exit the vehicle. Combs raised his hands but didn't immediately leave the vehicle. According to the lawsuit, Combs initially locked the door of the vehicle.

The lawsuit alleges Combs then ran from the vehicle before placing himself in the driver's seat of Larson's police car.

"Larson fired his weapon fives times into the front windshield of his stationary patrol vehicle," the lawsuit claims. "Defendant Larson notified dispatch that shots had been fired; then, immediately afterward, Defendant Larson discharged his weapon one additional time into the vehicle."

Five of the shots struck Combs, according to the autopsy.

In a press release issued the day after the shooting, a Concord police spokesperson stated that Larson fired his weapon after a "physical altercation" with Combs, who was unnamed in the release at the time. This information contradicts what was seen on the bodycam footage, according to the Combs family attorneys.

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"The fact that the Concord Police Department would issue a statement that completely contradicts what happened, that's concerning," Chance Lynch, one of Combs's family lawyers, said previously. "We're demanding transparency, we're demanding accountability."

The lawsuit announced Thursday argues Larson was "at no time... in any imminent threat of harm or injury from his station patrol vehicle." 

The lawsuit alleges Larson made no attempts to render medical aid after the shooting. 

Other responding officers removed Combs from the police vehicle, according to the lawsuit. Combs was transported to Atrium Health Cabarrus hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. 

After the shooting, Larson was questioned by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) about his actions. He was fired by the Concord Police Department and accused of providing false information about the shooting incident to investigators.

Larson had been with the department for two years prior to his termination in May.

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Lawyers representing Tayara and her family are asking for the public release of body camera footage from the shooting. 

"When you see that horrific video... what you would see is enough to make a grown man drop to his knees and ask where is the humanity for all mankind," Tayara told reporters Tuesday.

Under North Carolina law, the release of body cam footage is only allowable if an individual petitions to a court and that petition is approved by a judge.

The City of Concord provided WCNC Charlotte an updated statement Tuesday, which reads:

"We are aware of the lawsuit and we understand people want to know more about the officer and his actions on February 13, but as we said before, in order to protect the integrity of the pending independent review by the SBI and the District Attorney’s office, we will not be making further comment until the DA has announced her decision."

The lawsuit seeks financial compensation.

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