DAYTON, Ohio — Calling for accountability in the deaths of their loved ones, family members of some of the nine people killed in an August 2019 mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District have filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the high-capacity magazine used in the attack.
“The shooter — us families didn’t get justice because he took the easy way out — so we need to hold this company accountable,” said Dion Greene, whose father was killed in the shooting.
The accused gunman, Connor Betts, was killed after investigators said he fired the first of more than 40 shots.
In less than a minute, police said Betts killed nine people and wounded another 17 when he opened fire with an AR-15 equipped with a 100-round magazine.
“It’s a lot of pain so I stay fighting and try to create change,” said Greene, “because as I tell other people, you don’t want to feel this experience.”
Greene and other families touched by the tragedy filed a lawsuit against the Nevada-based manufacturer of the gun’s drum magazine, Kyung Chang Industry USA.
LaSandra James, whose daughter was killed, said two years later someone has to be held responsible.
“My granddaughter just two or three days ago was talking, it’s that time of year again, her mother’s anniversary of her death, and she’s asking questions and she’s counting the roses and asking ‘Nana, how is it possible that one person could kill nine people that fast? “ said James. “She needs answers. We need answers. Something has to be done.”
In the lawsuit, lawyers for the families call 100-round magazines “instruments of mass slaughter” and accuse the company of recklessly marketing and selling the product without reasonable safeguards or screenings.
“No one needs a 100-round capacity magazine,” said Attorney Ben Cooper. “It is only useful by the military or in mass shootings.”
Along with unspecified damages, the lawsuit asks a judge to stop the company from supplying large-capacity magazines without safeguards to prevent their misuse.
During a news conference Monday, attorneys stressed the lawsuit is not an attempt to outlaw large-capacity magazines, but admit a victory in court could cause a ripple effect across the industry.
“If companies know that they can be held financially responsible for the deaths they cause from selling dangerous products in a dangerous way, then I think the companies that make and sell these products will think very seriously about whether they will continue making and selling them in the reckless ways they do now,” said Cooper.
It’s a change Greene said he’s confident the lawsuit can create.
“Every day you turn on the news, it’s gun violence, it’s mass shootings,” said Greene. “When is enough, enough? Until it happens to them. All I can keep doing is sharing my heart to help other broken hearts.”
Ethan Kollie, a friend of the gunman who investigators say bought that 100-round magazine and gave it to him, is now in federal prison on an unrelated charge.
Company officials with Kyung Chang Industry USA have not responded to an e-mail and phone message seeking comment on the lawsuit.
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