By Steve Almasy and Nicole Barron, CNN
The family of Eliahna Torres, who was killed in the massacre at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, filed a lawsuit Monday against nearly two dozen people and entities, including the gun manufacturer and store that provided the rifle used in the May 24 attack and law enforcement officials who responded to the scene, according to court documents.
Eliahna was a 10-year-old fourth grader, who along with 18 other students and two teachers, was gunned down in a classroom just a few days before school was to let out for the summer. At least 17 others were wounded.
Law enforcement officers waited 77 minutes after the shooter entered two adjoining classrooms before storming in and killing the gunman, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident. Eliahna died in her classroom, the lawsuit says.
“Eliahna loved her family, and she knew how much we loved her,” Eliahna’s mother, Sandra Torres, said through a news release announcing the lawsuit. “I miss her every moment of every day. I’ve brought this lawsuit to seek accountability. No parent should ever go through what I have.”
The 76-page federal lawsuit, filed by Everytown Law and a Texas law firm on behalf of Sandra Torres and Eliahna’s siblings, alleges the “mass shooting was enabled by the illegal, reckless, and negligent actions” of gun manufacturer Daniel Defense.
Investigators have said the Uvalde shooter used an AR-15-style rifle manufactured by Daniel Defense.
“Daniel Defense markets its AR-15-style rifles to young male consumers by using militaristic imagery and video game references, by marketing on various social media platforms, and by suggesting that its rifles can be used by civilians for offensive combat-style operations against non-combatants,” the suit alleges. The suit also claims Daniel Defense’s marketing tactics are unfair and violate the Federal Trade Commission Act.
CNN has reached out to all the defendants listed in the lawsuit for comment.
The lawsuit also accuses Oasis Outback, a gun store that delivered the Daniel Defense rifle to the shooter and sold him another weapon and ammunition, of negligent transfer of firearms.
The shooter “had picked up or bought well over $3,000 worth of guns and ammunition, including two AR-style rifles” at Oasis Outback and the store “had a duty not to sell weapons to the just-turned 18-year-old shooter, who it knew or reasonably should have known was likely to harm himself or others,” the lawsuit argues, citing witnesses in the Robb Elementary Investigative Committee Report who claim the shooter was nervous and behaving suspiciously in the store.
The store, when reached by phone Monday, said it had no comment on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also describes a failed law enforcement response by school district, city, county, and state officials. It alleges unlawful seizure and lack of due process by law enforcement defendants.
The delay of law enforcement entering the classrooms to confront the shooter effectively trapped the victims inside, the lawsuit alleges.
“By using force to involuntarily confine Eliahna, and other students and teachers, inside classrooms 111 and 112 … the Law Enforcement Individual Defendants illegally seized Eliahna, in violation of the clearly established rights secured to her by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments,” the civil complaint alleges.
“Eliahna was deprived of access to emergency medical and rescue services and of the comfort of her family — who were just outside the law enforcement perimeter — as she was dying,” the lawsuit alleges.
The Torres family is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and has requested a jury trial.
The civil complaint is at least the second around the massacre that alleges negligence by multiple parties including the gun maker and seller.
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