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Texas Court Allows Sutherland Springs Victims to Sue Store that Sold Shooter Guns and Ammo

Photo of Brant Stogner

Just over a year ago on November 5, 2017, one of the deadliest mass shootings ever to occur on American soil took place in Sutherland Springs, Texas. The carnage was brought on by a gunman by the name of Devin Patrick Kelly of nearby New Braunfels. In total, 26 lives were lost that day along with 20 others who were injured.

In a decision that could have legal ramifications nationwide, a Texas judge has decided that victims and families of the Sutherland Springs church massacre can sue and proceed against the sporting goods store that sold the shooter his weapon and ammunition. This paves the way for the case to possibly make its way to the jury.

Attorneys for the victims' families argue that Academy Sports + Outdoors should be held liable as they were the Texas retailer that sold the shooter the high-capacity magazine that was illegal in the shooter's state of residence, Colorado. The families are seeking millions in damages for physical and mental anguish, permanent disfigurement and medical expenses.

Defense attorneys for Academy have responded by asserting that Texas law allows Academy to sell high-capacity magazines, whereas admitting that the same type of magazine would have been illegal to sell in the shooter's home state of Colorado. Attorneys for the victims argue that "Academy is the gatekeeper to protect people from buying guns who should not have them...[w]hen you have a guy who's 850 miles from his home and paying cash...that kind of raises some flags."

The victims are also bringing a federal court case against the U.S. government for negligence. In a December report, the Air Force said it failed on six occasions to report information regarding the shooter's domestic violence background, which if reported would have raised red flags when the shooter was purchasing the weapon and ammo.

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed due to a grievous injury that could have been prevented, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll free at 1-800-594-4884.

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