Uvalde school district, others face first lawsuit over mass shooting

Weathered signs, candles and stuffed animals remain at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School the day after the video showing the May shooting inside the school released, in Uvalde, Texas, U.S., July 13, 2022. REUTERS/Kaylee Greenlee Beal/File Photo

Sept 29 (Reuters) - Parents of three children who survived the Uvalde, Texas school shooting have sued the school district, several former officials, the company that manufactured the gun used in the rampage and others.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court in Del Rio, Texas, appeared to be the first over the mass shooting, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed in May. The plaintiffs are parents of three children, one of whom was shot and injured and two who were present during the shooting at Robb Elementary School.

"The horrors at Robb Elementary School were only possible because so many in positions of power were negligent, careless and reckless," said Stephanie Sherman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in a statement.

Defendants named in the lawsuit are the city of Uvalde; former police chief Pete Arredondo, who was fired in August amid harsh criticism of the law enforcement response to the shooting; school principal Mandy Gutierrez; Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the gun used by the shooter; and Motorola Solutions, which allegedly made communications devices used by first responders that failed to work as intended.

The city of Uvalde declined comment and other defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.

The complaint includes claims for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified money damages from the individual defendants and the companies.

Uvalde officials faced harsh criticism after nearly 400 law enforcement officers waited outside school classrooms for more than an hour before confronting and killing the shooter. A report from the state legislature blamed "systemic failures" and poor leadership for the response, which it found may have contributed to the death toll.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Alexia Garamfalvi and Cynthia Osterman

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Brendan Pierson reports on product liability litigation and on all areas of health care law. He can be reached at brendan.pierson@thomsonreuters.com.