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Jury awards $10 million in Missouri deputy shooting that killed man, injured woman

Katie Moore, The Kansas City Star on

Published in News & Features

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Jackson County jury handed down a substantial $10 million verdict Friday after nearly two weeks of testimony centered around a deputy who shot two people, killing one of them.

Allen Cates, 29, and Randi McGaugh were in a car in Independence when Jackson County Deputy Tyler Naudet fired at them on Sept. 12, 2019. Cates died at the scene. McGaugh was injured by the gunfire.

At the time, Cates had a 9-year-old son and was expecting another child, who was born about two months after his death. The jury awarded them $7 million, attorney Tom Porto said.

McGaugh was awarded $3 million.

“It’s justice for the sons of Allen and it’s justice for Randi McGaugh and it’s justice for the death of Allen Cates,” Porto said. “God bless this jury.”

“The verdict speaks volumes about how inappropriate (Naudet’s) actions were,” Porto said.

Cates’ family and McGaugh filed a lawsuit in July 2020.

Jury selection began May 13 at the Jackson County Courthouse in Independence and opening statements were presented two days later.

During opening statements, jurors watched a Ring doorbell video showing the encounter.


Naudet and several Independence Police Department officers arrived at East 25th Street and Hawthorne Avenue to take Cates into custody on a felony warrant. He was a suspect in a series of car break-ins.

The officers exited their patrol vehicle and Cates’ vehicle began to roll back. Naudet fired five times as the car began moving forward. Cates was struck multiple times and died at the scene. McGaugh was hit in her shoulder and back, according to court documents.

Naudet was the only officer to fire. Porto told jurors other officers chose not to because they knew there was another occupant, because they moved out of the way of the car and because there were several officers in close proximity.

The lawsuit said neither Cates nor McGaugh pointed a weapon at the officers.

Amanda Langenheim, an attorney for Naudet, told jurors the arrest was supposed to be a simple felony apprehension, she said, but it didn’t turn out that way because of how Cates reacted.

According to Langenheim, officers were yelling commands at Cates, who put the car in drive and headed “directly” toward the deputy.

Naudet and McGaugh testified later in the trial. Naudet remains employed with the sheriff’s office.

Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the verdict.

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