Elsa Robb, widow of a Newport High School tennis coach who was gunned down in the summer of 2005, says police failed to do anything when they were called to a burglary and found Samson Berhe--a 17-year-old who had repeated encounters with law enforcement and had been hospitalized for a violent mental disorder on more than one occasion.
According to a suit filed in King County Superior Court last week, upon the arrival of two officers, Berhe dumped live ammunition from his pocket and had an outstanding arrest warrant. The cops told him to go home. He returned a while later, she alleges, picked up the live rounds, loaded a stolen shotgun and walked to the 5000 block of West Marginal Way, where he flagged down her husband Michael Robb's Jetta and shot him in the face, killing him instantly. Robb left behind a 14-month-old daughter. A previous wrongful death suit filed against Berhe's parents was settled out of court.
While the question of whether the city and it's officers could have prevented Robb's death begins winding through the civil system, Berhe is now 19. His criminal trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 25. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.