Uvalde survivors sue gun makers, school district, law enforcement

The families of survivors of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas have filed a lawsuit against the school district, multiple gun manufacturers, the city’s law enforcement agencies and others for their alleged roles in the massacre.

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in the Western District of Texas court, the families of three survivors of the shooting at Robb Elementary School allege that the school district did not prepare its schools, staff and law enforcement officers for a mass shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

They cited a Texas State House Committee report released in July that blamed a culture of complacency for weakened safeguards that could have slowed the shooter.

The complaint also cited the school leaving external doors unlocked and failing to address mechanical issues with classroom doors, resulting in the shooter easily reaching students and teachers.

The families also alleged that the city’s police department failed to follow state-mandated active shooter training protocols established after the Columbine High School massacre, saying that law enforcement authorities retreated after coming under fire from the shooter, then waited for backup to arrive as the shooter continued his rampage.

The families also filed a lawsuit against gun manufacturers Daniel Defense LLC, Firequest International, and Oasis Outback, alleging that the companies’ “negligent, intentional, and reckless” marketing and sales of their AR-15 products to city residents caused a nuisance in violation of state law.

“The horrors of May 24, 2022 were only possible because so many in positions of power were negligent, careless, and reckless,” attorney Stephanie B. Sherman said in a statement.  “It is beyond shameful that Daniel Defense deliberately markets military-grade weapons to untrained civilians and young adult males, a demographic responsible for the most mass shootings.

The families added that the gun manufacturers’ “reckless and outrageous practices” put them at risk of “terror, fear, apprehension, injury, and loss of life with full knowledge that their practices put their profits” over public safety.

In total, the families named 10 defendants in their lawsuit, including the since-fired Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, Robb Elementary Principal Mandy Gutierrez, and Mariano Pargas, who was the city’s acting police chief before being placed on administrative leave in July.

The latest lawsuit follows another one filed in June, where four families whose children were injured in the shooting sued the estate of Salvador Ramos, the lone suspect in the massacre who was killed by responding border patrol officers. The families are seeking compensation worth up to $100 million in Ramos’s estate for physical and emotional damages from the May incident.

The families who filed the lawsuit this week are seeking punitive damages against all of the defendants except for the school district and the City of Uvalde.

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