The tragic shooting at Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022 at Robb Elementary School left 19 children and 2 teachers dead and the community is still reeling from the loss. In the wake of the massacre, parents were left asking how did this happen and how officers handled the situation.Reports emerged that alleged law enforcement waited outside for the entirety of the massacre, failing to provide any protection for the victims or action against the shooter until over an hour after the mass shooting began. In July, Pete Arredondo, the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police department, resigned after law enforcement official state police said he was most responsible for the lack of a proper response to the shooting. However many are still calling for accountability for the officers who stood there, especially following the release of security footage during the attack.
In response, Sandra Torres, mother of 10-year-old Eliahna Torres, has filed a federal lawsuit in collaboration with Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control and safety nonprofit. The suit seeks damages from several police departments, the city, the school district, the manufacturer of the gun that was used, and the gun store that sold the gun to the 18-year-old shooter, according to CNN.
“Eliahna loved her family, and she knew how much we loved her,” Torres said in a news release. “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. My baby never made it out of the school. There’s no accountability or transparency. There’s nothing being done.”
At around 76 pages, the lawsuit details the sheer number of violations that were committed against the victims on May 24 at the hands of law enforcement. The list includes failing to provide a satisfactory response to the massacre or follow official shooter protocol and intentionally trapping the victims inside the school with the shooter for over an hour, which legally goes against the victims’ Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights to medical and rescue services.
Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the AR-15 rifle used in the shooting, is also being named in the suit for how it “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,” according to the lawsuit. While gunmakers are usually exempt from lawsuits under federal law, this document specifically blames the company’s marketing rather than the company as a whole.
“It wasn’t by accident that he went from never firing a gun to wielding a Daniel Defense AR-15,” said Eric Tirschwell, executive director of Everytown Law. “We intend to prove Daniel Defense marketing was a significant factor in the choices that Ramos made.”
The Uvalde massacre is one of 611 shootings this year, making it the second-worst year for gun violence in the U.S. The Robb Elementary School shooting was the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. in a decade, the New York Times reported yet little action is being taken on the state or federal level to make a significant change. We wish the best to the Torres family and hope that this lawsuit will be the first step toward more gun control and protection in the future.