WARMINSTER, Pa. — A family is set to receive $650,000 after successfully suing Warminster police for fatally shooting an 89-year-old woman.
Marie Zienkewicz was shot and killed in February 2013 while Warminster police attempted to apprehend an intoxicated man, Andrew Cairns, who was in an apartment above Zienkewicz.
The Philadelphia suburb will cover the expenses of the lawsuit, and is also slated to provide its police officers with more training, and to donate books in Zienkewicz’s memory to the local library.
Police say Cairns had earlier fired his gun during a dispute with his girlfriend, and had barricaded himself in his apartment for several hours before being taken into custody.
Cairns’s girlfriend, Deborah Silva, had gone to Zienkewicz’s apartment to escape. As Zienkewicz opened her door and reached out to allow Silva inside, police say an officer mistook her for Cairns and fired at her through a door, killing her.
Cairns was held responsible for the death and is now serving 14 to 30 years in a state prison. The police officer who shot and killed Zienkewicz was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.