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'Leave no stones unturned': Attorney looks at potential lawsuit against gun manufacturer in Tops shooting

Police watch over the street memorial created across the street from the Jefferson Avenue Tops supermarket.
Lynne Bader
Police watch over the street memorial created across the street from the Jefferson Avenue Tops supermarket.

As Western New York continues to move forward following the mass shooting at a Jefferson Avenue Tops Market that claimed the lives of 10 people and wounded three more, the families of Andre Mackneil and Kat Massey are looking into the possibility of suing the gun manufacturer.

Federal law makes it difficult to sue a gun manufacturer such as Remington, whose version of the AR-15-style weapon was allegedly used by Payton Gendron in the May 14 shooting.

John Elmore’s law firm is representing the Mackneil and Massey families. He said Remington could be sued if it is found they violated state consumer protection laws.

A recent judgment against Remington filed by the families of Sandy Hook school shooting victims is a case Elmore is taking a look at.

“We have to find out since the Sandy Hook case what they have done to market the case,” he said. “We have to look at their records their marketing efforts. Obviously [AR-15] was a dangerous product. Okay. New York State has protection laws that have been modeled after Connecticut's consumer protection laws.”

In fact, Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder, the law firm which won the Sandy Hook judgement, is working with Elmore in preparation for a potential lawsuit.

“[Attorney Josh Koskoff] has the playbook on how to sue Remington,” he said.

But Remington is not the only company at risk of a lawsuit.

“We're looking to hold anybody else that's responsible for this,” Elmore said. “We're looking at the manufacturer of the body armor that he wore. We're looking at the social media platforms that he was on and it is going to be an extensive, thorough investigation where we're going to leave no stones unturned.”

Elmore said the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has pledged their services legal and financial support in the litigation.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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