The widow of a Springfield man who was shot to death by a Dade County deputy during a well-being check has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Sheriff's Office and the deputy.
The lawsuit, which was originally filed in Dade County Circuit Court has been transferred to U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
According to the lawsuit, Carrier shot Deering through the driver's side window of his vehicle, while the gun remained locked in a console.
In addition to the sheriff's office and Carrier, Dade County is listed as a defendant. Judy Deering is asking for a jury trial.
The events that led to her husband's death are detailed in the petition.
Gary Lee Deering was a veteran suffering from PTSD and who at various times in the last few years suffered from bouts of depression. In June 2021, Plaintiff Judy Deering observed Gary Lee Deering's depression was severe, he had not been eating much the past four or five days and had been acting angry.
Although the couple live in Springfield, Missouri, (they) were spending time at Stockton Lake. Specifically, the couple stayed in a fifth wheel camper at the lake at Ruark Bluff East Campground, 16435 East Stockton Lake Drive, Stockton, Missouri 65661.
The night of June 22, 2021, Judy Deering checked on Gary Lee Deering while he slept in the bedroom and discovered he was asleep in bed with a gun in his hand. (She) took the gun from (his) hand and decided to store the gun in her car. (She) carried the gun to car and decided to lock the gun in her vehicle. (She) went back inside and slept on the couch.
When Gary Lee Deering woke up the morning of June 23, 2021, Judy Deering heard him moving around in the bedroom and sounding agitated as he was apparently looking for the gun she had locked in her vehicle the night before.
Gary Lee Deering left the house in his truck early in the morning. Because Judy Deering had seen (him) struggling with his PTSD, depression and based on his behavior the night before and that morning (she) was concerned for (his) well being, mental state and afraid he might cause injury to himself.
At no time did Judy Deering feel threatened or in fear for her life. She knew Gary Lee Deering had a pistol in his truck and was concerned he might injure himself. (She) called 911 to report she was afraid (he) would harm himself.
The Dade County Sheriff's Department responded to the 911 call and sent a deputy sheriff out to talk with Judy Deering. She explained to the deputy sheriff that (her husband) suffered from PTSD, depression and bouts of anger and explained the incident the night before with finding the firearm in Gary Lee Deering's hand while he was sleeping and that she took the gun from him and locked it in her vehicle.
She told the deputy sheriff she was afraid Gary Lee Deering might be of danger to himself (and that) he kept a handgun in the console of his truck. The deputy sheriff told Judy Deering she should leave the premises at Stockton Lake until the Dade County Sheriff's Department checked on Gary Lee Deering
At no time did Judy Deering tell the deputy sheriff she felt threatened or in fear for her life.
She got in her vehicle and began her drive to Springfield. Before she made it (there), her daughter Cathy Haden was contacted by the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department. Cathy Haden was asked if her mother was with her, she was, and asked to drive to the fifth wheel camper at Ruark Bluff East Campground, Stockton Lake, where the couple were staying.
Judy Deering, her daughter Cathy Haden and Cathy's husband drove back to Stockton Lake. When they arrived, they were met by a detective from Lawrence County, Missouri and questioned about Gary Lee Deering. Judy Deering assumed from the questions that (her husband) had taken his own life.
However, at one point during the questioning, the detective asked about Gary Lee Deering's handgun he kept in the truck. His question promoted Judy Deering's daughter Cathy to ask the detective directly if Gary Lee Deering killed himself with the gun in the truck.
The detective stated that the gun did not leave the console at any time. The detective stated Gary Lee Deering had been shot in the chest through the driver side window.
The family was shocked to find out that defendant Deputy Eric Carrier shot Gary Lee Deering in the chest through the driver's side window and Gary Lee Deering never had the gun in his hand that was kept in the truck console.
News reports of Deering's death note that the involvement of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office came because it was asked by Dade County to conduct the investigation of the officer-involved shooting.
The lawsuit notes that the Dade County Sheriff's Department also shot and killed a suicidal man in May 2018.