Beaumont named in federal lawsuit alleging off-duty officer fatally shot Vidor man unprovoked

By John Suayan | Oct 15, 2018

BEAUMONT – The Brasher Law Firm, PLLC and Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell, LLP have filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a Vidor man who was allegedly shot to death two years ago by an off-duty Beaumont police officer.

The 33-page original petition filed on Oct. 12 in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas asserts that Officer Chase Aaron Welch shot and killed James “Chaz” York in the parking lot of Madison’s Bar and Restaurant on Oct. 14, 2016. Welch and the City of Beaumont are defendants in the case.

Prior to the incident, York and his friends were “enjoying a night out together” when a man named Levi Severson physically assaulted the decedent. Escorted out of the establishment, York and a female companion were reportedly confronted by two venue employees and Welch himself.

The suit further states that the officer continued to taunt and threaten York after he and the woman went inside the decedent’s vehicle. York exited the car with Berg attempting to stop him when Welch fired a weapon three times, the suit says.

More shots allegedly rang out and the decedent was hit. According to court documents, “five of the eight bullets” struck York, with the shots to his chest and back proving the most fatal.

Meanwhile, Welch dropped the weapon and ran away from the scene, the complaint says.

It adds that an autopsy conducted on York Forensic Medical Management Services of Texas, P.A. for Jefferson County concluded that “(York) was shot in the back as he turned to run away from the conflict with Officer Welch.”

“Chaz York was not fleeing, had not been suspected of any serious crime, was not under arrest, did not possess a weapon, and did not pose a threat to Chase Welch,” court filings say.

Consequently, York’s survivors seek unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

Beaumont Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 1:18-CV-0522

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Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas City of Beaumont

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