Chicago

Highland Park victims file lawsuits against alleged shooter, his father

Victims of the Highland Park capturing have filed a number of lawsuits naming the alleged shooter, Robert Crimo III, Smith & Wesson, two firearms sellers and Crimo’s father because the events who bear accountability for an eruption of gun violence that killed seven and wounded dozens of others throughout the northern suburb’s Independence Day parade.

The lawsuits, introduced Wednesday in Northbrook, are the most recent within the ongoing debate in U.S. courts over who bears accountability for deaths and accidents attributable to firearms on this nation.

Antonio Romanucci of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, one among eight companies concerned within the fits, stated attorneys are “focused directly on gun makers Smith & Wesson.”

“After every mass shooting, Smith & Wesson has a bump in sales,” Romanucci stated. “A bump in sales brings a bump in profits. A bump in profits brings bonuses to that C suite. We say no more. We say it’s over. We all say we’re done.”

The lawsuits additionally identify the alleged shooter’s father for serving to his son receive the gun allow card that he wanted to buy the Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle that authorities say the youthful Crimo used when he opened fireplace from atop a constructing alongside the parade route, in line with one of many complaints, which was filed in Lake County Circuit Court Tuesday.

George Gomez, a Crimo household legal professional, stated Wednesday that he had not learn the lawsuit. But Gomez reiterated what he has stated up to now, that his shopper, Crimo’s father, adopted the regulation when he sponsored his son’s allow application and did nothing mistaken.

Further, Gomez stated that the older Crimo had no information of his son’s alleged plans for gun violence.

Representatives of Smith & Wesson couldn’t be reached for remark.

At the information convention, survivor Lauren Bennett described fleeing the capturing scene on July 4 along with her youngsters, husband, dad and mom and in-laws after being shot twice in her hip and again.

“Imagine a hot, metal dart-like projectile tearing through your body at supersonic speed, faster than the speed of sound,” Bennett stated.

“We survived a battle zone that day and will carry the most horrendous images with us for the rest of our lives,” Bennett stated. “As we’ve been healing in these following weeks, we’ve come to terms with the reality that perpetual safety in the most shielded of places is nonexistent.”

Gun producers have traditionally been protected against lawsuits like this underneath the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a regulation Congress handed in 2005 that provides gun producers and sellers broad immunity from lawsuits. But attorneys and specialists on Wednesday asserted that there’s an exception that permits for the lawsuits to proceed.

“That exception is when a member of the gun industry knowingly violates a state or federal law applicable to the sale or marketing of firearms, and here that is exactly what is being alleged,” Alla Lefkowitz, senior director of affirmative litigation for Everytown Law, stated on the information convention. “Smith & Wesson, in addition to the two guns shops named as defendants, did violate the law.”

Lefkowitz stated the authorized coalition believes Smith & Wesson violated Illinois client safety legal guidelines through the use of misleading advertising and marketing and promoting to promote the M&P15 as a navy weapon. But the lawsuit claims that the gross sales don’t replicate this, and attorneys on Wednesday known as the concept the weapon was utilized by the navy a “fiction” pushed by the company, which went as far as to trademark the identify “M&P,” a reference to “military and police” as a approach to entice clients.

“Smith & Wesson has built a billion dollar a year business by selling as many assault rifles as possible. And to achieve those record-setting sales, Smith & Wesson deployed a sophisticated marketing campaign designed to target and capitalize on the individuals most likely to use those weapons to carry out violence,” stated Matthew Sims of Rapoport, Weissberg & Sims P.C. “Indeed, Smith & Wesson has trademarked the M&P logo, which stands for military and police. But not with the intent to sell these weapons to the military or the police. Rather, it was designed to target sales to exactly the civilian audience most likely to engage in violent, criminal behavior. And when mass shootings happen, gun sales go up.”

It was folks like Crimo, the lawsuit contends, that Smith & Wesson had straight of their crosshairs as they sought to make extra money by way of such advertising and marketing, which additionally promised “more adrenaline” and encourages customers to “kick brass.”

“The Shooter fits the demographic of customers that Smith & Wesson targeted with its negligent and unlawful marketing. An avid user of the social media platforms used by Smith & Wesson to promote its assault rifles, the Shooter displayed his hardcore violent fantasies online, styling himself on one platform as a ‘Master Gunnery Sergeant,’ and on others as a video game assassin. He spewed hatred online and often posted videos of himself playing first-person-shooter games.”

Meanwhile, the lawsuit contends that the gun sellers named within the submitting violated Highland Park and Highwood’s respective assault weapon ban ordinances after they offered and transferred the assault-style weapon to Crimo.

According to the lawsuit, Crimo bought the weapon on-line from Bud’s Gun Shop in Kentucky and picked up the weapon at Red Dot Arms in Lake Villa, which facilitated the authorized switch, the lawsuit stated. Both companies knew Crimo had addresses in Highland Park and Highwood, the lawsuit stated, and that he was a “resident of a municipality that prohibited the possession of such weapons.”

“Nevertheless, they proceeded with the sale and transfer, enabling the Shooter to carry out his deadly mission,” the lawsuit reads.

A girl who answered the telephone at Red Dot Arms stated, “I’m not interested in giving you any comment.” Attempts to achieve Bud’s Gun Shop weren’t profitable.

Lastly, Crimo’s father, Robert Crimo Jr., is called as a defendant as a result of he sponsored his son’s application for a gun allow, which is required for gun purchases in Illinois, regardless of figuring out that Highland Park police had been known as to a Crimo dwelling twice, as soon as as a result of the youthful Crimo had tried suicide and one other time as a result of he had threatened relations.

In addition to financial damages from each gun retailers and Smith & Wesson, Lefkowitz stated the fits are asking for “injunctive relief remedies” to how Smith & Wesson markets its weapons.

“Specifically, we are asking for age gating on social media,” Lefkowitz stated. “We are asking that military imagery not be used with regard to marketing of these assault rifles. Importantly, we’re also asking for Smith & Wesson to disclose the dangers of assault rifles when it’s marketing them.”

She stated a jury would finally resolve the extent of monetary damages and different treatments.

Jon Strauss, whose father, Steven Strauss, was shot and killed within the bloodbath, stated no phrases can really “convey the trauma of having a loved one stolen from you.”

“We stand here today because of a growing cancer in the fabric of American life that threatens us all, where desperate, lost souls can easily outfit themselves with military-grade weapons and impulsively wreak havoc on their communities in a matter of seconds, turning a joyful celebration into carnage,” Strauss stated.

Romanucci stated the fits are geared towards Smith & Wesson and the distributors, and never regulation enforcement businesses who accredited Crimo’s application for a firearm proprietor’s identification card, however stated the crew of legal professionals is “going to learn a lot” within the discovery course of.

“(Smith & Wesson) was the entity involved and we know who the person was, so right now we’re focused on them,” Romanucci stated.

Christopher Boehning of New York-based Paul, Weiss Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP stated that “every case has to stand on its own,” however {that a} historic lawsuit introduced against Remington after the Sandy Hook Elementary School capturing reveals a mannequin for holding gun producers liable for mass shootings.

“The bravery of the Sandy Hook families and the results of the Soto case show that we have the right legal theories here to bring to bear on behalf of the families and those affected, and we have the right legal team and resources to go toe-to-toe with the gun industry and seek justice,” Boehning stated.

Highland Park shooting survivor Lauren Bennett speaks about her ordeal during the July 4th parade and subsequent recovery during a news conference to announce the lawsuit on Sept. 28, 2022, in Northbrook.

Romanucci stated {that a} dozen legal professionals on stage for the information convention had been “only a fraction of the team that is going to be fighting for these people,” however didn’t give a timeline for the case to maneuver by way of the courts.

“We feel very well fortified in being able to respond to anything and be offensive in terms of being able to move this litigation as quickly and as efficiently as the court will allow,” he stated.

Attorneys additionally learn statements from Lorena Rebollar Sedano, Mirna Rodriguez, Michael Zeifert, Amelia Tenorio, Silvia Vergara and Liz Turnipseed, who suffered gunshot wounds, and Leah Sundheim, whose mom Jacki was killed.

Red Dot Arms in Lake Villa, on July 7, 2022, transferred a firearm to Robert Crimo III, who is charged for the Highland Park 4th of July mass shooting incident.
Afternoon Briefing

Afternoon Briefing

Daily

Chicago Tribune editors’ prime story picks, delivered to your inbox every afternoon.

Edelson PC legal professional Ari Scharg stated Smith & Wesson’s advertising and marketing campaigns “destroy” the road between fantasy and actuality, and the company rakes in elevated income on account of gun gross sales prompted after mass shootings happen.

“We believe that we will demonstrate to a jury that Smith & Wesson is out there training mass shooters as we speak in households all over the country,” Scharg stated.

“This coalition is HP strong,” Scharg added, “and we will never run out of energy for this fight.”

Back to top button