POWAY, Calif. — Victims of the Chabad of Poway mass shooting last year have filed a complaint against gun manufacture Smith and Wesson and the local gun store that sold the assault-style rifle to the young man accused of the fatal attack.
“These victims, after suffering so much tragedy, really want just one thing,” said attorney Jonathon Lowy. “They want tragedies like this to never happen again to anybody else, whether they’re in a church or synagogue, movie theater or any other place in America.”
Lowy is lead counsel for Brady Legal out of Washington DC. The firm’s suit on behalf of the shooting victims alleges Smith and Wesson acted with negligence in the way it built and marketed the gun, because it can easily be modified to become an assault weapon.
“If you’re selling guns, particularly military style assault weapons, you have to be extra careful who you sell them to and who your downstream sellers are,” Lowy said. “Are they following the law? And are you marketing those guns in a responsible way that does not unduly attract potential mass killers?”
The shooting happened on April 27, 2019, on the last day of Passover. Prosecutors say John T. Earnest entered the synagogue and opened fire, killing a woman and injuring several others including the rabbi.
The suit also names San Diego Guns, the store that sold the rifle to Earnest.
“The shooter needed to provide valid identification, which in this case was a hunting license,” Lowy said. “He did not do that. In California, the law is clear on that. What he provided was not a hunting license that was in effect at the time, and therefore the gun should not have been transferred.”
FOX 5 was unable to reach the management of San Diego Guns for comment.
The lawsuit is asking for unspecified monetary damages.