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January 26, 2023
A Robb Elementary School staff member is set to file a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Daniel Defense after a mass shooting at her school left 19 fourth graders and two teachers dead.
Emelia Marin filed a pre-suit deposition against the company, which makes the AR-15-style rifle Salvador Ramos used to murder 21 people before being shot and killed by law enforcement. Texas allows for a broad range of information to be requested prior to officially filing suit under Rule 202.
Marin’s attorney, Don Flanary, told NBC news that Marin was outside bringing food into the elementary school for an end-of-year party when she saw the suspect crash his grandmother’s truck nearby to the school. She had propped the door open with a rock, he said.
“[Someone] yelled, ‘He’s got a gun,” Marin told KXAN prior to filing the deposition. At that point she did not want to be named. “I ran back into my building. I still had the rock in the door. So, I opened the door, kicked the rock, and then locked [the door].”
Marin was not harmed physically in the shooting, however Flanary told NBC: “She is not well psychologically. She is a wreck. She’s been to her doctor and she’s continuing to receive treatment. It’s going to be a long road ahead, as it is for so many other people.”
Last week, Colonel Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a news conference that a door to the school was left ajar by the worker who ran outside when she heard Ramos crash his truck.
Despite claims to the contrary from law enforcement, Flanary said earlier this week that Marin had initially propped the door open to get food from a car but closed it after realising the heavily armed gunman was heading towards the school.
Marin’s filing has been touted as the first court action in relation to the attack. NBC reports that although it is not officially a lawsuit, the filing can be classed as a pre-suit petition, which will look to determine whether Daniel Defense can be sued for how it markets its weapons.
“Everybody knows that school shootings are happening. It’s an epidemic. So we want to know, what are they doing to change their marketing practices?” Flanary told NBC.
Flanary then switched his focus to the Robb Elementary shooter, he added: “We’re trying to investigate, did they market to this person? Did they do something that caused him to want to buy the gun when he just shouldn’t have? And that’s what we’re really concerned about.”
A statement on the Daniel Defense website reads: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Texas this week. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and community devastated by this evil act.”
“As reported in Governor [Greg] Abbott’s press conference, it is our understanding that the firearm used in the attack was manufactured by Daniel Defense. We will cooperate with all federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities in their investigations.” Concluding the statement, they added, “We will keep the families of the victims and the entire Uvalde community in our thoughts and our prayers.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BLOOMBERG