The family of Kelly Ann McDowell, who died by suicide in 2017 using the off-duty service weapon of her boyfriend, Police Lt. Francisco O’Neill, has settled their lawsuit against O’Neill and the Ventnor City Police Department for $2 million thanks to the efforts of attorneys from Barry, Corrado & Grassi.
- Kelly Ann McDowell, a working single mother of three, died by suicide in 2017 using the off-duty service weapon of her boyfriend, Police Lt. Francisco O’Neill.
- O’Neill had left the gun unsecured on the floor of their unlocked walk-in bedroom closet.
- The family of Ms. McDowell sued O’Neill and the Ventnor City Police Department, alleging that O’Neill was negligent in his handling of the gun and that the department was liable for failing to ensure that its officers complied with its gun safety policies.
- In a landmark ruling, the New Jersey Superior Court found that O’Neill could be held financially responsible for his negligence, even though he was off-duty at the time of the incident.
- The case settled for $2 million.
Overall, the decision highlights the importance of gun safety and the need for law enforcement agencies to take steps to ensure that their officers comply with their policies. It also raises the question of whether police officers should be held financially responsible for their negligence in handling firearms, even when they are off-duty.