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Lawyer Responds to Questions About $25 Million Damages Claim Against City of Pasco

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PASCO, WA. -- Teresa De Jesus Ruiz filed a claim against the City of Pasco seeking $25 million for the death of her estranged husband Antonio Zambrano. We caught up with Lawyer George Trejo, the man representing Teresa Ruiz.

Ruiz has filed a damages claim for $25 million dollars that could turn into a federal lawsuit against the City of Pasco. But there are a lot of questions.

Did Ruiz have a restraining order against Zambrano? Being estranged from Zambrano and living in California, does she have a right to claim this money? We asked Mr. Trejo for some answers. 

Outside Tuesday's mass, Attorney George Trejo explained how they arrived at that sum. 

"How much is a father worth? How much is a husband worth?" Trejo asked. "They've got two children who this image will forever be imbedded in their mind for the rest of their life. So is ten million too much per child to ask? Is 5 million too much for the wife? So that's how I came to 25 million."

We asked Trejo to confirm whether Ruiz at one point filed a restraining order against Zambrano  

"There may have been marital problems," Trejo said. "But a lot of couples have marital problems. They're reunited, they're separated." 

"Did she have a restraining order at the time of the shooting?" we asked. 

"I don't believe there was one at the time of the shooting no," Trejo said. 

"Was there a restraining order at some point?" we asked. 

"I believe there was one in the past but i'm not sure," Trejo responded. 

Some of our Facebook viewers have expressed outrage that a community movement against violence could now appear tainted by a lawsuit  

"Some people might say that she was estranged from her husband, they were separated, how does she have the right to claim this money?" we asked. 

"The way she has a right to claim this money is because the law says she has a right to claim this money," Trejo said. "So for those people that say that, too bad. You don't like it? Contact your legislature, contact your congressman."

The City of Pasco has 2 months to respond to the claim. They can either decide to negotiate, reject the claim or just do nothing. After the 60 days are up, the matter could be brought before a federal judge.

We talked to Pasco Mayor Matt Watkins who told us the matter has been brought to the attention of the city's lawyers and they are discussing what action to take.