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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Sister of man shot in 2020 over traffic dispute files wrongful death suit against shooter

The sister of a man slain in a dispute following a fender bender in 2020 in St. Paul has filed a wrongful death suit against the shooter.

Valerie Lewis, sister of Douglas Lewis, is suing Anthony James Trifletti for upwards of $50,000, according to a civil lawsuit filed in Ramsey County District Court Monday.

Anthony James Trifiletti

Trifletti, of Watertown, is currently serving 12 years in prison for the shooting. He was convicted by a jury in June in a second trial, after the jury in the first trial deadlocked.

Valerie Lewis, of St. Paul, is listed as the court-appointed trustee for the next of kin of Douglas Lewis. She is being represented by Minneapolis attorney Brandon Vaughn.

“No traffic disputes or collisions should ever involve guns, yet Mr. Trifiletti fired multiple shots at Mr. Lewis, an unarmed African-American man, killing him,” Vaughn said. “Nobody in a fender bender should ever have to fear for their life. This is a matter of justice for the family still grieving from this senseless killing.”

According to the lawsuit, Lewis’ sister states that Trifiletti was negligent and intentional in discharging his firearm, that he created an unreasonable risk and that his actions caused Lewis’ death and caused his family to suffer.

On May 1, 2020, Douglas Lewis was driving near Burns Avenue and Hwy. 61 in St. Paul when he and Trifiletti collided. They got out of their cars and began arguing.

While arguing, both began walking towards their vehicles. Trifiletti returned with a 9mm gun. He had stated that he thought Lewis was going to shoot him, so he shot first, striking Lewis four times.

Trifiletti had a permit to carry a gun. No weapons were ever found on Lewis’ body or in his vehicle. Trifiletti left the scene, but returned later. Lewis died on the operating table due to loss of blood.

Judge Sara R. Grewing will be presiding over the case. No attorney was listed for Trifiletti.

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