Family of three Uvalde school shooting survivors file first federal suit




  • In US
  • 2022-09-30 14:21:00Z
  • By NY Daily News

The families of three children who survived the massacre at Robb Elementary School have become the first to file a federal lawsuit in connection with the mass shooting, which left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in Del Rio, Texas, names 10 defendants in total, including the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Pete Arredondo, the district's since-fired chief of police, and Robb Elementary School principal, Mandy Gutierrez. It also takes aim at gun manufacturer Daniel Defense LLC, Firequest International Inc., which designed an accessory trigger system the gunman used; and Oasis Outback LLC, where the alleged gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos purchased his firearm.

Ramos burst into the Uvalde primary school the afternoon of May 24 and barricaded himself inside a classroom, where he remained for nearly an hour. He managed to fatally shoot 23 students and teachers before he was gunned down by a responding border patrol agent.

One of the children involved in the lawsuit, who lost his best friend in the shooting, was also wounded during the attack, lawyers told the Texas Tribune.

"We are after accountability and damages, and because my plaintiffs are young, they will have to deal with the trauma of what they went through," attorney Stephanie Sherman said. "It's just a perfect soup of lack of care, and I can't help but think this poor community was not protected in any way."

In the months after the massacre, Gutierrez weathered fierce backlash for failing to use the school's intercom system to alert students and staff to the violence. Arredondo, once head of the six-member police force responsible for keeping Uvalde schools safe, has also faced off with critics, who took issue with his decision against immediately engaging with the shooter.

According to the complaint, which was obtained by CNN, Daniel Defense should also be held accountable for the massacre because it knowingly markets to young men like the suspected shooter.

"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," it reads.

The complaint pointed to a specific social media post, shared just days before the shooting, which shows a toddler holding an assault-style weapon

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it," the caption reads.

The lawsuit also compares Firequest International's trigger system to illegal bump stocks. The product similarly allows semi-automatic rifles to fire at a more rapid pace, like an automatic weapon.

The plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages and a jury trial, among other relief.

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