MADISON (WKOW) -- The owner of the Williamson Street building where a Madison Police officer fatally shot teen suspect Tony Robinson is demanding apartment tenants pay more than one-thousand dollars to cover the shooting damage, as the tenants continue to grieve their friend's death.
The tenants on the lease are mother and son Tamara Herrera and Anthony Limon. Their friends say they have not returned to the apartment since the Mar. 6 shooting.
Building owner Ray Peterson served them with an eviction notice, demanding current rent, and reimbursement for his costs in contracting for cleanup from the shooting. "Cleanup involving a hazardous cleanup," Peterson tells 27 News.
While Peterson concedes his tenants are experiencing a difficult time, he maintains the eviction process is his legal option to be able to get inside his building. And Peterson says Tony Robinson's move-in to the unit without his presence on the lease makes the tenants responsible for the fall-out from the shooting.
"It would not have occurred if they hadn't violated their lease by permitting a person in their home who was not a leasee, not a party to the lease," Peterson tells 27 News.
Peterson is in negotiation with the tenants' attorney, Syovata Edari, to try to come to an agreement to terminate the lease. Edari and Herrera have yet to respond to requests for comment from 27 News.
Peterson says he expects to find additional shooting damage when he's allowed to inspect the building's interior. Peterson tells 27 News his approach with these tenants and others is consistent to avoid any claims of discrimination. "This is a policy under which we've always worked and will work to treat all tenants the same," Peterson tells 27 News..
With city police officers involved in the damage-creating incident, it remains possible the city of Madison may bear some financial responsibility. While Peterson believes it's unlikely the city will face legal liability, he says city officials could help the tenants. "It would be a compassionate consideration on the part of the city," Peterson tells 27 News.
City risk manager Eric Veum tells 27 News decisions to compensate people who file claims for damages with the city turn on culpability.
"It all depends on whether or not police officers involved were negligent in their duties," Veum says.
Veum says occasions when city officials paid claims involving police officers include bullet damage to a car, after an officer fired a round as he was attacked by a dog; inadvertent destruction of evidence, when a seized cell phone was left on top of a police squad car before the squad car pulled into traffic. Veum tells 27 News most allowed claims involving police officers were traffic collisions involving police vehicles.
Friends of the tenants say their displacement by the shooting alone has been a financial burden.