Ada County Sheriff describes burglary, shooting and fire
A Nampa woman blames Ada County deputies for causing the death of a man with whom she had a relationship, who died after a Meridian house that authorities say he had broken into caught fire. An 84-year-old woman and her son also died in the fire.
Maria Lorentz is seeking $1 million in damages in a tort claim filed with the Ada County Sheriff's Office. She accuses deputies of indifference and acting with "reckless disregard" of the rights of Pavel Florea, 35, of Nampa.
Police received a call about a prowler at about 10:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at a secluded house at 1570 W. Amity Road in south Meridian. Deputies arrived to find Florea outsidewith a gun, banging on a door and threatening the residents.
Deputies fired at Florea. He then entered the house. Authorities have not said whether Florea was struck by the shots or whether he fired at deputies. Soon after, the house caught fire.
The sheriff's office has not responded to the claim, spokesman Patrick Orr said. He said the Critical Incident Task Force, a multi-agency team that investigated the incident, is still completing its report.
Carmen Abbott, 84, also died in the fire. She had been staying with her son, Scott McAllister, 55, who died the next day at the University of Utah Burn Center in Salt Lake City. McAllister's wife, Lily, was in the house too but survived.
Lorentz accuses the deputies of incompetence and gross negligence and calls their conduct "outrageous."
She filed the action on behalf of herself and unnamed heirs of Florea. Although Florea had an estranged wife, Lorentz claimed a "conjugal," or, common-law relationship, with him and is seeking damages for the loss of his financial and emotional support.
Her tort claim is not a lawsuit. Such a claim puts a government agency on notice of an alleged wrong. Idaho requires a tort claim before a claimant can sue the agency for violating state law. The agency has 90 days to notify the claimant that it accepts or denies the claim. If it is denied, the claimaint is free to sue.
Nampa attorney Rick Tuha, who represents Lorentz, said he filed the claim to preserve her legal rights. He declined further comment.
Florea had a record of abuse, drug use
Florea moved to Idaho from San Bernardino, California, in 2013, and worked in construction. That year, he was accused of domestic battery in the presence of a child and disturbing the peace. Both charges were later dismissed.
The following year, he pleaded guilty to domestic battery with traumatic injury. He was given a withheld judgment and placed on probation for five years. He was also fined $571 and given 180 discretionary days in jail that his probation officer could impose.
Florea allegedly violated his probation at least three times. He dropped out of a court-ordered batterer's treatment program in late 2015 and early 2016. He tested positive for methamphetamine use in March 2016 and he absconded from supervision in early 2017 after being evicted from where he was living.
His estranged wife, Christina Marie Budlong, told the Idaho Statesman last fall that Florea was mentally and physically abusive both before they got married in 2008 and throughout their marriage. She said she didn't have many resources and didn't know how to get away from him.
A few days before the home invasion, two men concerned about Florea's behavior went to Nampa police to report he was abusing drugs and was out of control. They said they became alarmed when Florea posted a message asking his Facebook friends to bring him an ex-girlfriend alive and to kill her new boyfriend.
Police said they did not take any action because they did not have evidence Florea had committed a crime.
The Boise Police Department served as lead agency for the investigation into the home invasion, fire and shooting.
The Critical Incident Task Force report will be reviewed by a county prosecutor outside Ada County. The sheriff's office, Orr said, will have more to say about the incident then.
The Idaho Press first reported the tort claim.