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Families of Odessa mass shooting victims file suit, seek $1M

August 31, 2020 GMT

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — Family members of two of the deceased Odessa mass shooting victims are suing the person who supplied the AR-style firearm to the mass shooter and the gun parts manufacturer for over $1 million in damages.

The families of 15-year-old Leilah Hernandez and 40-year-old Joseph Griffin are filing a civil lawsuit against Anthony Braziel, from whom mass shooter Seth Ator illegally obtained his weapon, and Anderson Manufacturing, a Kentucky-based gun parts manufacturer, according to the Odessa American.

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Ator killed seven people and injured 25 others during a 10 mile (16 kilometers), hour-long car chase that began on Interstate 20 in Midland County and ended when police finally cornered and killed Ator outside a crowded Odessa movie theater.

The lawsuit was filed three days before the first anniversary of the shooting.

“Our clients want to hold accountable those who manufactured, profited from, and supplied the AR-style weapon used in the shooting,” attorney John Sloan, who is representing the families of Hernandez and Griffin, stated in a press released issued last week Thursday.

Sloan said he hopes the suit brings attention to the expansions of universal background checks since Ator had reportedly failed a background check when he attempted to purchase a firearm in 2014. Ator previously had been temporarily committed to an institution and adjudicated “a mental defective.”

Sloan said Anderson Manufacturing and Braziel each will be served by certified mail, after which they have roughly 20 days to answer the lawsuit.

“Hopefully, we will be able to take Braziel’s deposition,” Sloan said. “That’s one of the goals.”