Judge Awards Parents $3M in Son's Shooting at Hand of DEA Agent

Judge says authorities had reason to believe they were in danger, but should not have fired.

A federal judge Wednesday awarded $3 million to the parents of an 18-year-old man killed by a plainclothes agent in Studio City, but found that authorities were not negligent in holding a narcotics debriefing in the parking lot where the fatal shooting occurred.

In 2010, Zac Champommier was sitting in a parked car waiting to meet a friend in a shopping center, his parents said, in Studio City, Calif., about 6 miles northwest of Hollywood.

The Granada Hills High School graduate would not have recognized the undercover, plainclothes Drug Enforcement Administration agents and drove in their direction to exit the parking lot, his mother said. He was fired upon and killed.

Champommier’s mother, Carol, said it was her duty as a parent to file a $10 million wrongful death suit.

"I had to do this. I had to do this for Zac," she said.

Because the fatal shot was fired by a federal agent, the case was decided by a judge in federal court.

"This was a bad shooting that was out of policy and never should have occurred," said Gay Dordick, Champommier’s attorney.

The judge ruled Wednesday that authorities had reason to believe they were in danger but should not have fired.

Carol Champommier -- who will receive $2 million; her husband will get $1 million -- said she’s happy with the judge’s decision, but it won’t replace the loss of her only son.

"The rest of my life without him is almost unbearable," she said. "I have to push it out of my mind and just continue breathing every single day."

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