Smith & Wesson sued over July 4 links to Highland Park Parade mass shooting

Survivors of a mass shooting and family members of those killed at a suburban Chicago Independence Day parade filed 11 lawsuits Wednesday against the maker of the rifle used in the assault, accusing gun maker Smith & Wesson of illegally attacking young men. Accused of targeting ads. of mass violence.

The dozens of victims of the Highland Park shooting, announced Wednesday, is the latest bid by anti-gun violence advocates and private lawyers to hold gun makers accountable for mass murder despite broad protections for the industry in federal legislation.

The group’s strategy reflects the approach used by the victims’ relatives. 2012 Sandy Hook School Murderswhich in February a. arrived at $73 million settlement With the gun company that produced the rifle used in that assault. It was considered the largest payout by a gun-maker related to a mass murder and hinged on allegations from the families that Remington marketed its AR-15-style weapons to youth already at risk of committing violence, according to Connecticut Consumer Protection. had violated the law. ,

“The shooter didn’t act on his own,” said Alla Lefkowitz, senior director of affirmative litigation for the gun safety organization Everytown. “What happened on July 4th at Highland Park was the result of deliberate choices made by some members of the industry.”

Liz Turnipseed is one of the survivors at Highland Park, who alleged that the gun manufacturer, the accused shooter, her father and two gun sellers take some responsibility for the attack.

In an interview with the Associated Press this week, Turnipseed said she was enjoying the parade with her husband and 3-year-old daughter pointing at the instruments in a high school band before the shots played out. The turnip fell to the ground after being shot in the pelvis and remembered that she looked at her daughter’s stroller on her side and asked her husband to get her daughter out safely.

Turnip said she has needed intensive wound care for weeks, has needed a cane for a while and is in treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. She was also forced to delay the embryo transfer scheduled for July 12; Her doctors now fear that it is dangerous for her to be pregnant.

Highland Park Parade After Shooting
People lay flowers and cards near a venue during the July 4th parade in Highland Park, Illinois, on July 10, 2022.

Jacek Bozarski / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Despite her physical and emotional burden, the Highland Park resident became determined to speak up for those who had not survived the mass shootings in America, most notably those killed in late May at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Went to 19 children and two teachers.

“I had a unique opportunity to help put a real face on what these guns do to people and … give it a first-person perspective,” Turnipseed said. “Because many of us are not alive. Because they are so deadly.”

Representatives for Smith & Wesson, based in Springfield, Massachusetts, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Wednesday.

Attack survivors and family members of those killed spoke to reporters on Wednesday, highlighting the dramatic change in their lives since the shooting and repeatedly blaming the firearms manufacturer for enabling the shooter.

Family members of three of the seven killed in Highland Park – Stephen Strauss, Jackie Sundim and Nicholas Toledo – are among those sued. The family of the fourth victim, Eduardo Uvaldo, has retained lawyers handling the Sandy Hook case.

“The pain, loss and grief we must endure is never-ending,” John Strauss, one of Strauss’s two sons, said at an event announcing the suit. “This time it was our family. Next time, it could be yours.”

prosecutors have said Robert E. Cremo III He confessed to the killings at the parade after being arrested by police hours after the attack. Officials identified Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15 semiautomatic rifle as the weapon they used to fire at the parade.

Turnipseed argues that the Smith & Wesson ads mimic the shooter’s eye view popularized by video games, use deceptive imagery of explicit military or law enforcement personnel and emphasize the M&P 15’s combat characteristics – all “Impulsive young men with hero complexes and/or militaristic delusions” with a dangerous appeal.

The ad text also billed the rifle as “capable of handling as many rounds as it can” and providing “pure adrenaline”. An advertisement shows M&P 15 on a dark background in dark red font and capital letters above the phrase “Kick Brass”.

“The advertising and marketing strategy described above demonstrates that Smith & Wesson knowingly marketed, advertised and promoted the rifle to civilians for illegal purposes, including offensive, military-style combat missions against their perceived enemies,” their attorneys said. It’s logic.

Ari Sharg, an attorney for Adelson PC, a Chicago-based firm representing Turnip, said lawyers for the Highland Park victims are determined to move forward with their cases before a jury.

“There’s definitely a long way to go, and it’s an uphill battle,” Sharg said. “But I think it’s the most important case in the country that’s under trial right now … and we’re going to see it through to the end.”

Victims are also suing the accused gunman for assault and battery and intentional emotional distress and his father, Robert Cremo Jr., for negligence, specifically sponsoring his son’s application for a state firearms license in 2019 within months of 19 years to do. The old man attempted to kill himself and threatened the family members. Two gun sellers are accused of violating an arms embargo in Highland Park and Highwood, the hometown of the accused gunman.

Cremo III, who represents those killed and wounded during a parade in Highland Park, faces 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder, and 48 counts of aggravated battery.

Lake County prosecutors have not filed any criminal charges against his father and have repeatedly declined to discuss the possibility that Cremo Jr. could be charged in the future.

A lawyer for Cremo Jr. did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Cremo III is represented by the Lake County Public Defender’s Office, which does not comment on ongoing cases.

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