Victims of the Uvalde mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school in May have filed a $27 billion class-action lawsuit against an array of public entities and officials, seeking damages for ongoing trauma.
The suit filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas names the city of Uvalde, its police department, the school district, the state Department of Public Safety, and several police and school officials, alleging they failed to follow protocols for an active shooter.
The May 24 tragedy when a gunman killed 19 schoolchildren aged 9 to 11 and 2 teachers rocked the United States. Police were scrutinized for their response as they waited more than an hour, while some children called for help, before storming the classroom and killing the shooter.
It was the deadliest U.S. school shooting in almost a decade.
The class-action suit seeks damages for the survivors including parents whose children were killed and kids who witnessed the massacre, said attorney Charles Bonner, whose California law firm brought the suit. Anyone else in the “zone of danger” could join the suit, Bonner said.
“Parents were telling us that kids are threatening suicide, they’re totally changed from what they were on May 23, the day before the incident,” Bonner told reporters in Uvalde on Wednesday.
“One child is having the nightmare that she’s having a heart attack. In fact two children. The parents are traumatized because they’ve seen this totally night-and-day change.”
A spokesperson for the city of Uvalde said on Thursday the city had not been served with the lawsuit and would not comment on pending litigation.
Representatives for the Uvalde Police Department, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, the Department of Public Safety, and the former chief of the school district’s police force did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Bonner said he was working with the gun violence prevention advocates Everytown in conjunction with a separate suit that Everytown filed on Monday against many of the same defendants plus Daniel Defense, the maker of the AR-15-style firearm used by the 18-year-old shooter.
Daniel Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Separately, the city of Uvalde on Thursday sued District Attorney Christina Mitchell for not handing over investigative materials related to the shooting. The city is asking a state judge to compel Mitchell’s office to hand over records from all law enforcement agencies.
The district attorney’s office said it had no comment on the lawsuit.
Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters. Edited for FISM News by Michael Cardinal