Families of victims in Odessa mass shooting to file lawsuit agai - FOX34 Lubbock

Families of victims in Odessa mass shooting to file lawsuit against Lubbock gun dealer

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Family members of two of the victims killed in the mass shooting in Odessa last August are filing a lawsuit against a Lubbock gun dealer and gun parts manufacturer, The Sloan law firm confirmed Thursday. The suit is expected to be filed Friday Afternoon at the Ector County Courthouse.

The mass shooting left seven people dead and 21 wounded. 15-year-old Leilah Hernandez and 40-year-old Joseph Griffith both died in the attack. Both families are seeking more than $1 million in damages.

The lawsuit claims shooter Seth Ator, who was shot and killed by police outside a theater in Odessa, obtained his weapon illegally from Marcus Anthony Braziel. 

Braziel's home was raided last September amid allegations he illegally manufactured and sold the weapon. According to the suit, "more than two dozen guns were seized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives."

The suit also targets Anderson Manufacturing, based in Kentucky, who reportedly sold firearms and gun parts to Braziel. The suit claims Anderson negligently sold "multiple firearms to an unlicensed dealer of weapons."

The lawsuit sites mass shootings in Texas alone over the last several years have killed 69 people in Odessa, El Paso, Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe. The families hope to "hold accountable those who manufactured, profited from, and supplied the AR-style weapon used in the shooting."

The Sloan Law Firm issued the following press release:

Family members of two of the deceased victims of last August's mass shooting in Odessa are filing suit against a gun parts manufacturer and supplier who provided the semi-automatic weapon to the killer.

The suit will be filed following an 11 a.m. press conference Friday on the steps adjacent to the entrance of the Ector County Courthouse.

The murderous spree on the afternoon of Aug. 31, 2019 left seven victims dead and 21 wounded. The shooter, Seth Ator, was killed by police in a gun battle in the parking lot of the Cinergy Odessa movie theater.

The families of Leilah Hernandez, who was 15 at the time, and Joseph Griffith, who was 40, are asking for more than $1 million in damages. Both died in the attack. Hernandez was with her family at a local car dealership when Ator opened fire outside. Griffith was driving his wife and two children when Ator pulled up, first aiming his weapon at the children before shooting Griffith.

The suit notes that mass shooters in Texas in recent years have killed 69 people in Odessa, El Paso, Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe in Texas.

"Our clients want to hold accountable those who manufactured, profited from, and supplied the AR-style weapon used in the shooting," attorney John Sloan said. "They hope to impose accountability for the negligence of the defendants that might prevent future gun violence and future gun deaths in Texas and beyond."

Sloan's firm is based in Longview with offices in Houston and Santa Fe, NM.

According to the suit and media reports, Ator obtained his weapon illegally from Marcus Anthony Braziel, a Lubbock gun dealer who is one of the defendants. Braziel's home was raided after the shooting and more than two dozen guns were seized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Braziel is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Northern District of the U.S. Attorney's office.

The other target of the suit, Anderson Manufacturing, based in Kentucky, sold firearms and gun parts to Braziel. The suit claims Anderson negligently sold "multiple firearms to an unlicensed dealer of weapons."

"Anderson Manufacturing was obligated to exercise reasonable care in selling firearms to as to never needlessly endanger the public by arming prohibited or otherwise dangerous purchasers," Sloan said.

Ator failed a background check in 2014 because he was diagnosed as being mentally ill, according to published reports. He also had at least two misdemeanor arrests and pleaded guilty to evading arrest in 2002.

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