Image source: WTTW News
On Wednesday, survivors of the July 4 shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, took the drastic step of taking legal action.
The prosecution blames the alleged shooter, his father, an arms manufacturer, distributor, and dealer, for the massacre.
Dozens of people were injured and seven killed in the Highland Park shooting.
The lawsuits were filed in Lake County Court with Smith & Wesson, Bud’s Gun Shop, Red Dot Arms, Roberto Crimo III, and Roberto Crimo Jr. as defendants.
Smith & Wesson
According to the lawsuits, gunsmith Smith & Wesson attempted to sell his guns to “disturbed young men by targeting and exploiting [their] risk-seeking – and often troubling – desires.”
Plaintiffs’ attorneys referred to Smith & Wesson for marketing and advertising strategies aimed at young men that were consistent with the allegations.
As a result, gun sales and mass shootings have increased in the United States.
The lawsuits were announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
Antonio Romanucci, attorney at Romanucci & Bladin, released a statement stating:
“As they watch their gun sales increase, their profits increase, have they tuned down their marketing strategy, their advertising strategy when it comes to vulnerable young men in this country? No.”
The lawyer accused the manufacturers of profiting from the mass shootings.
They said that after every shot there is usually a “bump in the sale” of guns.
Bud’s Gun Shop and Red Dot Arms
Antonia Romanucci claimed that online arms dealer Bud’s Gun Shop and Illinois arms dealer Red Dot Arms were involved in the heinous actions of Crimo III.
Despite the prohibition of the weapons he used in Highland Park and Highwood, the shooter was able to obtain such weapons.
The plaintiffs said the alleged shooter should have given them his address and ID at Bud’s Gun Shop.
The online arms dealer reportedly showed that he was based in the area.
Roberto Crimo Jr.
Plaintiffs have also included the alleged shooter in the lawsuit. Roberto Crimo Jr. is accused of allowing his son to get his hands on his guns by sponsoring a FOID app.
Crimo III is known for his history of violence.
In 2019, Highland Park Police answered two calls about him.
The first was a suicide attempt in April 2019.
Police responded in September when Crimo III threatened to “kill everyone.”
Plaintiffs and survivors
The estates of victims killed in the shooting, Nicolas Toledo, 78, Steven Strauss, 88, and Jacki Sundheim, 63, have filed lawsuits.
More than 40 other people killed with relatives killed have also filed lawsuits.
Some survivors of the shooting spoke at Wednesday’s press conference.
Lauren Bennett, a victim who was shot in the hip and back during the parade, spoke about the experience.
Bennett was present with her husband, two young children, parents, and in-laws.
As she was enjoying the event, she heard gunshots coming “out of a blue sky” before she was herself shot.
“I felt a tight shock in my back and hip and saw my entire lower left side was bleeding,” said Bennett.
“I knew right then we were under attack.”
Bennett recounted how her family fled the scene, walking through pools of blood.
“We survived a battle zone that day and will carry the most horrendous images with us for the rest of our lives.”
Jon Strauss, son of victim Steven Strauss, recalled his father’s death and the pain the loss caused him and his family.
“There would never be a goodbye hug or kiss,” he said.
“There would be no opportunity to thank him for all the love and support he showered on us over the years.”
“There would be no more jokes, laughs, or conversations.”
Another victim, Liz Turnipseed, was unable to attend the press conference as she had to return to the hospital due to complications from her injury.
Ari Scharg, a lawyer at Edleson PC, read a statement from Turnipseed in which she was shot and asked her husband to protect their young daughter.
Scharg echoed the sentiments of the victims and accused Smith & Wesson of marketing its M&P-style rifle – the weapon responsible for the mass shootings.
“We believe that we will demonstrate to a jury that Smith & Wesson is out there training shooters, as we speak, in households all over the country,” said Scharg.
Sandy Hook lawsuit
The lawsuit reflects the approach taken by the families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting.
The Sandy Hook families accused Remington of violating Connecticut’s consumer protection law by selling AR-15-style guns to young men.
The gunmen have already threatened to use force.
They were able to circumvent federal laws which gave gun manufacturers extensive protection from previous lawsuits.
In February, they reached a $ 73 million deal with the weapons company that produced the rifle used in the shooting ten years ago.
The deal is considered to be the largest payment made by an arms manufacturer in connection with a mass murder.
Survivors of Highland Park mass shooting sue gunman, gun manufacturer, distributors