The mother of 17-year-old Patrick O’Grady, who was fatally shot in 2015 by a Fountain police officer, is receiving $450,000 in a settlement with the city, ending a nearly three-year wrongful death lawsuit, documents show.
The “settlement and compromise … are not to be construed as an admission of liability,” but protect the city of Fountain against future claims made or expenses incurred by O’Grady’s mother, Elizabeth Alvar, the documents say.
“Out of compassion, dignity and respect for all persons involved in this difficult matter, the city of Fountain wants to honor the expectations and agreements reached in the settlement,” city officials said in an emailed statement Thursday. “The Fountain Police Department will continue to serve our citizens with dignity and respect, while remaining transparent at all times.”
The settlement bars Alvar and her attorney from commenting, warning she will be fined $10,000 for violations. It stipulates that “no documents, statements, acknowledgements or interviews will be given to any news organization or entity of any type” by Alvar or anyone else who participated with her in the lawsuit.
Language in the settlement indicates the intention was to keep the terms quiet “so as not to result in public dissemination of such information.”
The documents, obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request, show the agreement was reached in early July, but the city declined to turn it over to The Gazette until Wednesday, saying it was still being finalized.
Alvar filed the lawsuit in early 2016, claiming that O’Grady was unarmed on Sept. 24, 2015, when Fountain officer Jonathan Kay shot the teen while he stood naked in the bathroom of his parents’ home on Legend Oak Drive.
The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office ruled the shooting justified based on Kay’s statements that O’Grady pointed a gun at him. Kay’s body camera was not running at the time.
Alvar had called police to her home that afternoon to investigate the attempted theft of a motorcycle from her garage. She didn’t realize at the time that O’Grady, who had reportedly run away from home three days earlier to avoid his probation-mandated drug test, had brought a friend with him when he sneaked home to shower.
O’Grady had also previously stolen her vehicle, which investigation revealed he planned to sell to a chop shop, warning “Its gotta be legit though cause if someone tries to rob is (sic) then were gonna shoot them,” investigative reports said.
Kay, who was initially named in the lawsuit but was later dismissed, was the first officer to arrive at the home.
He said Alvar ushered him inside and upstairs to the bathroom where O’Grady was about to get in the shower. Kay ordered the teenager to put on his clothes but said O’Grady responded by reaching for the gun he’d stolen from another home earlier in the day and pointing it at him. Kay fired.
O’Grady died of a gunshot wound to the head, autopsy records said.
Alvar said in the lawsuit that she never saw O’Grady with a gun, instead accusing authorities of planting the Glock pistol that was later found near O’Grady’s body. Several officers reported seeing the pistol behind the bathroom door, which closed amid the shooting, investigative records said.
In interviews with investigators after the shooting, O’Grady’s stepfather, Kenneth Alvar, described him as nonviolent and “the politest young man.” He said his son was a normal teenager — he liked video games, texting, “nice clothes,” playing basketball and riding his bike — but also frequently found trouble.
In Kentucky, where the family lived before moving to Colorado in 2014, Kenneth Alvar said his stepson would get in trouble for things like smoking marijuana, stealing, lying, “misbehaving and sneaking out … really just kid crap.” O’Grady also spent six months in a juvenile detention facility for taking a loaded gun from a police officer’s personal vehicle while “car hopping,” which Kenneth described as taking trinkets from unlocked cars.
The Gazette obtained the records through an open records request from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the shooting.