BOSTON, MA—On August 5, 2022, a federal judge ordered Shaun O. Harrison, a former English High School Dean, to pay Keches Law Group client Luis “Angel” Rodriguez $10 million in compensatory damages for shooting the then 17-year-old student in the back of the head at point-blank range on March 3, 2015, in Roxbury Massachusetts.
U.S. District Judge Leo. T Sorokin awarded Rodriguez $7.5 million for his physical pain and suffering and emotional distress and $2.5 million in punitive damages.
The case was prosecuted by John Martin, Thomas Wood, and Michaela Weaver of Keches Law Group.
Charges against Boston Public Schools and Harrison in his official capacity there, excepting one count, were dismissed.
In his position as dean, Harrison was responsible for counseling and supporting students. Harrison took advantage of his position and relationship with Rodriguez and offered him an illegal opportunity to make money by selling marijuana for him. Judge Sorokin wrote in his judgement that Harrison “abused a position of trust, responsibility, and authority.”
Rodriguez’s relationship with Harrison turned into a transactional one when Harrison offered to front one ounce of marijuana to Rodriguez for the price of $200.
Over time, the two became frustrated with one another – Harrison accused Rodriguez of stealing from him and Rodriguez complained that the deal was unfairly lopsided. Upon learning that Harrison kept a firearm in his home and was a member of the East Coast Latin Kings gang, Rodriguez made it known that he did not want to associate with gangs or guns.
All disagreements came to a head on March 3, 2015, when Harrison invited Rodriguez to hang out at his home and the two met first at a Sunoco Gas Station on Massachusetts Avenue in Boston that evening. Harrison then went to go make a phone call and while he did so, Rodriguez turned the other way. Harrison then shot Rodriguez in the back of his head at a point-blank range.
Judge Sorokin wrote in his ruling that Rodriguez “survived through a combination of gritty determination” and “good fortune—the bullet missed his brain stem and carotid artery by two centimeters.” Rodriguez survived the 2015 attack by courageously plugging the hole in his head with his fingers to stop the bleeding and flagging down a passing motorist.
Rodriguez has endured significant injuries and an immense amount of emotional and physical pain and suffering that still affects him today. He has post-traumatic stress disorder, had two surgeries, and suffered a shattered jaw, causing his mouth to be wired shut for nine months. He remains paralyzed on half of his face, suffers from neuropathy in his neck and face, has had hearing loss, and requires weights on his eye lids to aid in opening and shutting his eyes. The bullet remains lodged in his head, causing headaches as well as pain in cold weather.