Survivors of the mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb have filed 11 lawsuits against Smith & Wesson for allegedly marketing to young men at risk of violence — including the 22-year-old shooter Robert Crimo III.
The lawsuits were filed Wednesday by the wounded and families of those killed during the Highland Park tragedy in an effort to hold the gun manufacturer accountable for their alleged connection to the shooting that left seven dead and 48 injured.
Liz Turnipseed, one of the survivors, said in court papers that she had just arrived at the parade with her 3-year-old daughter and husband when Crimo opened fire from a nearby roof and struck her in the waist.
Her injuries required weeks of intensive care as she recovered from her injuries, which will require her to walk with a cane for a short period of time.
She is currently in therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and her plans to have another child have been put on hold after her embryo transfer was delayed. Doctors have since told her it would be dangerous to get pregnant in her condition.
Turnipseed was inspired to speak out when 19 students and two teachers were killed during a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
“I had a unique opportunity to help put a real face on what these guns do to people and … give it a first-person perspective,” Turnipseed told the Associated Press. “Because there aren’t that many of us that survive. Because they’re that deadly.”
News of lawsuits filed by multiple victims and their families was first reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Smith and Wesson did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.
Turnipseed’s lawsuit largely focuses on the weapon Crimo used in the shooting — a Smith and Wesson M&P 15 semiautomatic rifle.
The suit alleges that the gun marker should have been aware that its advertisements would appeal to potentially dangerous customers,“ “namely impulsive young men with hero complexes and/or militaristic delusions attracted to using the particularly high lethality of AR-15 style weapons … to effectively execute their fantasies,” her attorneys wrote.
Turnipseed claims that Smith and Wesson’s ads emphasize the M&P’s utility as a combat weapon, using a shooter’s point-of-view popular in shooting and military video games.
Smith & Wesson advertises the gun as “capable of handling as many rounds as you are.” One ad show’s the assault rifle against a dark background with the phrase “kick brass” in bold red font.
“The advertisements and marketing tactics described above demonstrate that Smith & Wesson knowingly marketed, advertised, and promoted the Rifle to civilians for illegal purposes, including to carry out offensive, military-style combat missions against their perceived enemies,” her attorneys argue.
The victims’ suits are employing a similar argument used by the families of the Sandy Hook shooting victims, who reached a $73 million settlement with gunmaker Remington this February in what is the largest payment by a gun-maker related to a mass killing.
Turnipseed is also suing Crimo for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
She is also suing the gunman’s father, Robert Crimo Jr., for negligence — specifically for sponsoring his son’s gun license application in 2019 just months after the then-19-year-old attempted to kill himself and threatened family members.
Ari Scharg, an attorney representing Turnipseed, said he hopes to bring the case before a jury. He has direct connections to the shooting — he was forced to hide in a basement with his 7-year-old daughter when the gunfire erupted.
Crimo faces 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, representing those killed and wounded during the parade in Highland Park
Crimo III’s father has not yet been charged. However, officials have not ruled out the possibility.
With Post Wires