Submitted by Mark Lindquist Law.
Tacoma, WA – Today (Sept. 7) attorney Mark Lindquist filed a claim for $23 million against the City of Tacoma in the shooting of Jay Barbour who owns and operates the Mediterranean Gyro Grills in Federal Way and Tacoma, Washington.
On June 23, 2022, Barbour was shot and paralyzed by Mason Taylor who was in illegal possession of a handgun. Barbour was driving to his restaurant. He drove slowly because he was hauling supplies. Taylor, who was behind Mr. Barbour, pulled alongside. He and his passenger were upset with Barbour’s pace. Words were exchanged.
Barbour pulled away and took a left turn. Taylor shot at Barbour twice. One bullet severed Barbour’s spine and paralyzed him.
Customers and others in the community expressed their heartbreak to the media, referring to Barbour as “beloved” and “a one-of-a-kind guy who truly cared about his community.”
Five days earlier, on June 18, Tacoma Police officers recovered Taylor’s handgun after a shooting at a party. Taylor denied shooting the victim and told officers the gun belonged to his “brother.” When asked where his brother was, Taylor said, “Um, I don’t know. I’ll have to call him.”
After speaking with his supervising Sergeant at the scene, an officer returned the handgun to Taylor, supposedly to hold for his “brother.” Specifically, the officer placed the gun on the curb and left it there so Taylor could pick it up after the officers departed.
According to police reports, an officer told Taylor, “I would place the gun on the curb of M Street. Then, I instructed them to pick up the gun after we left, meaning his brother would pick it up thinking the gun would be on the curb until his brother showed up to pick it up.”
Taylor could not legally possess a handgun. Further, he was being investigated for the shooting. In the claim filed against the City of Tacoma, Lindquist charges officers acted unreasonably, negligently, and dangerously when they left a gun on a curb for Taylor or anyone else to pick up.
Ballistic evidence indicates Taylor used this same handgun to shoot Barbour.
Lindquist said, “Giving a gun back to a criminal suspect in a shooting is beyond negligent. It’s beyond reckless. It’s crazy.”
Paralyzed from the chest down, Barbour and his family have suffered emotionally, physically, and financially. Barbour has been in and out of hospitals and requires complicated home care. Lindquist said damages will be more specifically described in the lawsuit, which will be filed later. In Washington, a claim must be filed prior to a lawsuit in actions against government entities.
Officers at the scene were wearing body cameras. Lindquist filed a public records request for the footage, which will include the dialogue between the officers and between officers and Taylor.
Taylor was criminally charged with Assault in the First Degree with a Firearm Enhancement and Drive-by Shooting. In a plea bargain, the prosecutor dropped the Drive-by Shooting count and the Firearm Enhancement. There were no proof problems with the case. Barbour and his family felt the reduced sentence was too lenient.
“Justice will come in our civil case,” said Lindquist. “Jay and his family want justice. They want accountability. And they want to make sure police officers don’t return guns to criminal suspects ever again.”
In addition to the two shootings in Tacoma, ballistics and other evidence indicates Taylor also used the same handgun to shoot at a victim on May 16 of 2022 in Federal Way.
At the time of all three shootings, Taylor was 20 years old. In Washington, the people passed an initiative that makes it illegal for a person of Taylor’s age to possess a handgun except at the person’s own home, property, or business.
The Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office has police reports regarding the June 18 shooting. The May 16 shooting occurred in the jurisdiction of the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Lindquist is the former elected Prosecutor in Pierce County, WA. He served for almost ten years and gained a reputation for supporting crime victims and holding defendants accountable.
Since 2019, Lindquist has been a personal injury attorney focused on wrongful death and other cases of serious injury. He represented 46 victim families in the crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 in Indonesia and currently represents a family in the second crash of a 737 Max in Ethiopia, as well as victims in wrongful death cases against the City of Seattle, Clark County, and other government entities.