Judges dismisses lawsuit in fatal shooting by police

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking damages from Chattanooga police officers who fired 59 gunshots at an armed man after he walked around his neighborhood with a rifle ranting about suicide.

U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier in an order Thursday dismissed the suit, two weeks before a scheduled trial linked to the July 2009 death of 32-year-old Alonzo Heyward.

Police have described Heyward's death as a case of "suicide by cop."

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report showed officers were placed in "reasonable fear of death or serious bodily harm to themselves or others" by Heyward's actions.

The judge's order said the shooting followed Heyward refusing the officers' orders to drop the weapon.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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