Honors Teen Slain: Family Awarded Millions

An honors teen was slain in a DEA shootout, and his family was awarded millions for the loss.

An 18-year-old honors student was shot by plain-clothes drug enforcement agents in a Studio City parking lot in 2010. When the agents shot Zachary Champommier in his car, there was no solid reason to open fire on the moving vehicle. The judge said that the DEA agents had reason to believe they were in danger, but shooting the vehicle would not have helped the situation.

The mixed verdict by US District Judge Michael Fitzgerald stated that the car containing the slain honors teen was not an actual danger to the drug enforcement agents but said agents were not negligent in their actions.

The shooting of honors teen Zackary Champommier sparked outrage throughout his family and friends, who referred to him as a "band geek" who would never intentionally confront an officer. His mother had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the government for the shooting, claiming he was no threat to them whatsoever and the use of firearms on the honors teen slain was reckless.

The way the situation was explained before the judge was that Zachary Champommier had gone to the Studio City parking lot to meet someone he had met online. Then he witnessed officers in plain clothes detaining his friend, Douglas Ryan Oeters, and drove forward to escape. It was then he hit a Sheriff's deputy at an unknown rate of speed. At the time, the officers and the DEA agents were explaining a search warrant they had on Douglas, who they thought was breaking into cars.

Zachary Champommier had been driving to escape the situation which he might have believed was gang violence due to the attire of the officers involved. They were out of uniform, and he couldn't know they were police.

Due to the mistake made by the agents who shot Zachary Champommier's car and killed him, the verdict was given which awarded his family $3 million. The verdict was mixed because the honors teen had hit an officer, and the Sheriff claimed he wasn't without some degree of fault.

The honors teen slain had been found partially guilty, but his family was still awarded millions.