The widow of a man shot two years ago in Draper has filed a $3 million suit against the city and its police department, contending that her husband died because Draper police acted improperly.
Julia K. Peppmuller said two Draper police officers might have prevented the Oct. 22, 1988, shooting of her husband, Garry G. Peppmuller, if they had been visibly present on the night of the shooting when she went to the home she shared with Peppmuller.The suit also contends the police failed to get medical assistance for Peppmuller until 30 minutes after he was shot. "As a result, Mr. Peppmuller died of the wounds he received," the suit said.
Draper Police Chief Hans DeHaas believes the suit has no validity. "The officers involved in this particular case responded to the situation properly and professionally. They did every single thing that could possibly be done under the circumstances to save of the life of Mr. Peppmuller and preserve their safety."
According to the suit filed in 3rd District Court, Julia Peppmuller asked Draper police to be present when she went to her home on Oct. 22 to retrieve some belongings. The suit said Garry Peppmuller had threatened to hurt or kill Julia and she had obtained a spouse-abuse restraining order against him. Draper police were aware of the threats and the restraining order and agreed to be present, the suit said.
Two police officers were at the Peppmuller home when Julia and a friend, Eldon Ellis, arrived that night. However, the police stayed out of sight, the suit said.
When Gary Peppmuller shouted threats at Julia and her friend, Ellis shot him.
Ellis was convicted of 3rd-degree felony manslaughter and served less than two months in jail.
The suit said the Draper police could have prevented the shooting by being out in the open when the confrontation occurred instead of hidden from sight. The suit contends the police would not allow Julia or others to call an ambulance until 30 minutes after the shooting.
"All the information I have been able to gather indicates we have no liability whatsoever," DeHaas said. " I feel that this entire case has been blown out of proportion."