The family of a victim of the American Civic Association says the company that sold Jiverly Wong the guns used in the 2009 shooting is partly responsible for the tragedy. The family of Layla Khalil is suing Gander Mountain for $3.75 million for negligence in selling Wong the weapons. Our Janelle Burrell has the details.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Laylah Kahlil was one of 13 killed at the American Civic Association on April 3, 2009, and two years later, the pain for her family is still very real.
"Remember it's not easy for us to move forward," said Samir al-Salihi, Kahlil's widower.
Khallil is now taking action, filing a $3.75 million lawsuit against Gander Mountain, the company that sold her killer, Jiverly Wong, the two semi-automatic guns used at the ACA.
"He was not right and based on that information, Gander Mountain said, 'okay, I'll sell you that semiautomatic pistol anyway," explained al-Salihi's attorney, Kelly Fischer.
Fischer says interviews with those who interacted with Wong shortly before the ACA shootings show Wong exhibited volatile behavior, even cursing at Gander Mountain employees when he went in to buy the guns, warning signs, they say, that Wong was not fit to be sold a weapon.
"You're not selling tissue paper, you're not selling office supplies. You're selling weapons that are designed to shoot and kill people, in part," Fischer said.
According to Fischer, case law dictates that gun sellers are not responsible in situations like these, except when there's in an indication that the buyer may use the weapon to kill someone. Gander Mountain denies there were any warning signs.
In a statement, a Gander Mountain spokesperson said, "This tragedy was a completely unanticipated action by a troubled individual, who had been issued all of the required permits for firearms ownership by the county and had been subject to state and FBI background checks. There was absolutely no warning."
Wong did have a permit, but Fischer asserts that's beside the point.
"They're the last line of defense."
He says Layla Khalil's family wants the suit to raise awareness among gun sellers.
"This is something that could have been prevented and should have been prevented," Fischer said. "If this lawsuit raises awareness and prevents that from happening again, that it a victory in itself."
And, he says, give Khalil's family some semblance of closure.