Thursday, December 10, 2009
Police Search for Motive in Shooting Death of Attorney Jeffrey Tidus
From Staff and Wire Service Reports
Investigators yesterday were trying to determine if a prominent Los Angeles attorney found shot in the head outside his suburban home had been slain or committed suicide.
The shooting of Jeffrey Tidus has baffled detectives, who are interviewing business partners and family members to determine a possible motive.
Tidus was shot Monday as he went to fetch his laptop from his car outside his home in suburban Rolling Hills Estates.
Several people rushed outside to try to help after hearing a single gunshot. But detectives found no one who had seen a person or vehicle flee, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Dolson said.
Tidus died Tuesday in a hospital. An autopsy expected in the next few days could yield further clues, including ballistic evidence, about his death.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that a memorial service for Tidus will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Tidus, 53, has represented a number of high-profile corporate clients, including Hawthorne Savings, Isuzu Motors of America and defunct subprime lender New Century Financial, according to his website.
No gun was recovered from the scene. Dolson of the Sheriff’s Department said several factors point to the death being a homicide, but added it was not unheard of for a weapon to be removed from a body immediately after a suicide.
“We have handled a couple of suicides where the gun was taken from the scene by either an unknown person or friends of the victim,” Dolson said.
Michael Tidus, the victim’s brother, dismissed the idea that the death could have been a suicide and said investigators had asked if anyone would have a grudge.
“All very, very successful lawyers when they win lots of cases, there’s always losers,” Michael Tidus said. “And he has won some very big cases in recent years.”
Michael Tidus, who is a real estate lawyer, said his brother “seemed happy, he seemed perfectly fine.” The two had spoken hours before the death, and Jeffrey Tidus voiced no concerns about his personal safety.
A longtime friend and fellow attorney, Brian Hennigan, said that when he and Tidus ran together on Sunday, Tidus appeared in excellent spirits.
“The suggestion that possible suicide hasn’t been ruled out stretches my belief beyond imagination,” Hennigan said. “He would be talking about his family pretty constantly. He loved life, loved being a lawyer.”
Hennigan said he had no sense of Tidus being concerned for his safety. Business litigation typically generates none of the passionate acrimony that can be associated with family law or divorce work, he said.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company