Uvalde survivors file class action lawsuit seeking $27 billion from law enforcement entities, school district and others
By Joe Sutton, CNN
Survivors of the fatal mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, have filed a $27 billion class action lawsuit against multiple law enforcement agencies in Texas, according to court documents.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Austin, names the city, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, the school district’s police department, the Uvalde Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and a number of persons who are members or former members of the agencies listed as defendants.
The plaintiffs include parents and teachers and school staff members who were at the school May 24 when 19 students and two teachers were gunned down in adjoining classrooms just a few days before school was to let out for the summer. At least 17 others were wounded.
A total of 376 law enforcement officers from multiple agencies responded to the massacre, the second deadliest shooting on a K-12 school in the United States.
Officers waited 77 minutes after the shooter entered two adjoining classrooms before storming in and killing the gunman, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident.
The lawsuit alleges the victims and survivors “sustained emotional and psychological damages as a result of Defendants’ conduct and omissions” as a result of the shooting.
According to the lawsuit, despite active shooter training, law enforcement “fundamentally strayed from conducting themselves in conformity with what they knew to be the well-established protocols and standards for responding to an active shooter.”
The lawsuit went on to reference the dysfunction and extended time period law enforcement took to respond to the shooting.
“Instead of swiftly implementing an organized and concerted response to an active school shooter who had breached the otherwise ‘secured’ school buildings at Robb Elementary school, the conduct of the three hundred and seventy-six (376) law enforcement officials who were on hand for the exhaustively torturous seventy-seven minutes of law enforcement indecision, dysfunction, and harm, fell exceedingly short of their duty bound standards,” the suit claims.
“There are no words to adequately express our deepest condolences to all the families who lost a loved one on May 24,” Anne Marie Espinoza, a spokesperson for the school district, said in a statement to CNN. “Uvalde CISD cannot comment on or provide information about pending litigation. As a district, we focus on supporting our students and their families as we continue to navigate these unprecedented times.”
CNN has reached out to the city of Uvalde and the state public safety department for comment.
The civil complaint is one of several around the massacre that seeks damages from a number of parties. One federal lawsuit filed earlier this week alleges nearly two dozen people and entities, including the gun manufacturer and store that provided the rifle used in the attack, were negligent and failed to protect a student who was killed. Other families filed a similar lawsuit in September.
Separately, on Tuesday, survivors and families of the victims filed another lawsuit seeking $6 billion in damages from firearm manufacturer Daniel Defense and Uvalde gun store Oasis Outback, alleging the shooter “turned to” the manufacturer, “who, due to a concerted and intentional marketing campaign specifically aimed at the demographic of young, isolated, troubled, and violent young men, successfully won over and wooed (him).”
The lawsuit also alleges that “despite all the indicia that reasonably raised doubts as to (the gunman’s) fitness to purchase,” Oasis Outback, the Uvalde gun store that sold him guns and ammunition, allowed the purchase to happen, “effectively providing him with an inordinate amount of guns, accessories, and ammunition that should have foreseeably raised significant flags of concern.”
CNN has reached out to Daniel Defense and Oasis Outback for comment.
Apart from the $6 billion in damages, the lawsuit seeks to stop Daniel Defense from “perpetuating its marketing campaign directed at young, underage youth wherein it irresponsibly dismisses and makes light of the dangerousness of their firearms.”
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CNN’s Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.