Uvalde parents have filed a federal lawsuit against gun manufacturers, and others
Sep 29, 2022, 3:28 PM | Updated: Oct 6, 2022, 3:12 pm
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
(CNN) — Parents of survivors of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, have filed a federal lawsuit against multiple entities — including the gun manufacturer, school district and city — for a host of allegations, including negligence and recklessness.
Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in the May 24 shooting after an 18-year-old gunman walked into Robb Elementary and began firing into classrooms.
The parents brought the lawsuit, filed Wednesday, on behalf of themselves and their children, who include: Corina Camacho’s 10-year-old son, identified as “G.M.” in the court document, who was wounded in the attack; Tanisha Rodriguez’s 9-year-old daughter, “G.R.,” who ran from the playground to a classroom to hide when she heard gunshots; Selena Sanchez and Omar Carbajal’s son, “D.J.,” was headed to the nurse’s office when he saw the gunman shooting toward classrooms. The 9-year-old hid in a nearby classroom with other students.
Lawyers for the families say the manufacturer for the gunman’s weapon employs aggressive marketing tactics that recklessly endanger children.
“Daniel Defense chooses not to do any studies evaluating the effects of their marketing strategies on the health and well-being of Americans and chose not to look at the cost to families and communities like Uvalde, Texas,” said the complaint.
Days before the shooting, the complaint notes, the Georgia-based company tweeted an image of a toddler holding an assault-style weapon with the caption: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
The claim also says Firequest International, Inc., which manufactures accessory trigger systems, similar to illegal bump stocks, sells its products to untrained civilians, young adults and minors in Uvalde. These types of devices allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more rapidly, similar to automatic weapons.
Oasis Outback, LLC, sold the gunman weapons and ammunition allegedly knowing he was a risk, the suit claims.
“The Uvalde school shooter’s background check was clean, and Oasis Outback sold him the guns and ammunition knowing he was suspicious and likely dangerous,” according to the legal document. “The store owner and his staff did not act on their suspicions and block the purchases or notify law enforcement.”
The gunman legally purchased two AR platform rifles at a local federal firearms licensee on May 17 and on May 20. He also purchased 375 rounds of ammunition on May 18, according to officials.
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, including Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, the district police chief at the time, and Mandy Gutierrez, the school’s former principal, failed to act and created a dangerous environment for the plaintiffs, according to the lawsuit. Gutierrez’s attorney told CNN his client will not be commenting on the pending litigation.
The claim also says the city’s police department failed to protect the victims by not following state mandated active shooter training.
“While Uvalde PD did make an early attempt to breach the classroom, they retreated and never tried again. The scene remained ‘active’ and active shooter protocol required Uvalde PD to pursue the primary goal of stopping the killing and gunman no matter how many times it takes,” said the claim.
The suit also faults Lt. Mariano Pargas, the city’s acting police chief on the day of the massacre, as well as two other companies, claiming defects in their products were factors in the response to the shooting. Motorola Solutions, Inc.’s radio communications devices, which were used by some first responders, “were defective and unreasonably dangerous because they did not contain adequate warnings or instructions concerning failure during normal use,” said the claim.
Lawyers also say Schneider Electric, the manufacturer of the door locking mechanisms used at the school, “failed to lock as designed after being shut.”
“What happened in Uvalde was an unspeakable tragedy that we condemn in the strongest terms,” Schneider Electric spokesperson Venancio Figueroa III told CNN. “We are reviewing this recent filing but cannot comment further on pending litigation.”
The plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages and a jury trial, among other relief.
Daniel Defense, Oasis Outback, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, FireQuest International, Motorola Solutions, Inc., Pargas and Arredondo have all not responded to CNN request for comment.
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