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Family of man killed by cop files lawsuit

Patricia and Christopher Callahan, mom and brother of

Patricia and Christopher Callahan, mom and brother of a Selden resident shot to death by police on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 26-year-old Kevin Callahan, discuss their lawsuit against Suffolk County police officers in Garden City. (June 14, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The family of a Selden man killed by police last year in his home say it took more than seven hours before he was pronounced dead while officers at the scene were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Suffolk police responded to a call of a man with a gun about 12:35 p.m. on Sept. 20. Shortly after they arrived, one of the three officers sent to the Franklin Avenue home said he got into a confrontation with Kevin Callahan and fatally shot him.

Callahan, 26, was pronounced dead at 7:50 p.m., according to his death report.

More details about Callahan's death were revealed at a news conference shortly after the family filed a federal lawsuit against the Suffolk County Police Department yesterday.

The suit alleges officers used excessive force after illegally entering Callahan's home.

"What we know is that there were two shots fired through the bedroom door and the autopsy report indicates that Kevin Callahan was shot in the back," said Amy Marion, a partner at Barket, Marion, Epstein and Kearon Llp., the Garden City firm representing Callahan's family. "Obviously this is clearly inconsistent with any kind of a confrontation."

The family said they had called police because they were worried about Callahan, who had been acting erratically.

Police issued a statement saying the department's Homicide Section "conducted a complete and thorough investigation" into Callahan's death. Police confirmed the case was reviewed by the Suffolk County district attorney's office and that "all the facts and circumstances were presented to a Suffolk County grand jury," which decided not to indict the officer who shot him.

Robert Clifford, spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota's office, said the family knew about the Jan. 15 grand jury presentation and could have provided any evidence they had about the shooting.

The family said they called 911 after Callahan, a recovering heroin addict with a troubled past, told his mother during a phone call that there was a man with a gun in the house.

Toxicology reports show Callahan had anxiety drugs and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his system when he died. Callahan was shot three times, twice in the abdomen and once in the back, according to a Suffolk County medical examiner's report.

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