Families file lawsuits over gun purchase for JCC shooting victims

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It’s been two years since Reat Underwood, William Corporon and Terri LaManno were shot and killed outside the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom.  While their families continue to grieve, they are both taking legal action.   Each family has filed separate lawsuits, claiming clerks at Wal-Mart should have known better than to sell a shotgun used to kill three people.

“There were several red flags, several statues violated,” said Louis Accurso, who is representing the LaManno family.

The LaManno lawsuit 

The LaManno family filed a lawsuit Monday afternoon in the Jackson County Circuit Court.

The suit accuses Wal-Mart, Friendly Firearms LLC, R.K. Shows, Inc. and R.K. Shows, MO Inc. of negligence. The lawsuit also names John Reidle, the man who purchased the guns on behalf of Fraizer Glenn Cross.

“When you have two people discussing the firearm, I think it was quite obvious who was making the selection. If the person making the selection is not the purchaser, all kinds of bells and buzzers should go off,” said Accurso.

According to the suit, employees at the gun show and superstore “knew, had reason to know or recklessly failed to know” that a straw gun purchase was occurring based on the men’s remarks and behavior.

“The Wal-Mart employee, for whatever reason, decided to walk Mr. Reidle to his car to make sure his weapon was with him,” said Accurso. “Well, why would you take those steps if you were not concerned it was a straw purchase?”

The Corporon lawsuits 

The Corporon family filed two lawsuits, on behalf of William Corporon and Reat Underwood, on Tuesday afternoon in the Johnson County Circuit Court.

The suit only names Wal-Mart and accuses the company of allowing a straw gun purchase to happen.

“Had Wal-Mart followed existing law and used the training it had received on spotting and stopping straw purchases, the horrendous tragedies of April 13, 2014 would not have happened,” David Morantz, who is representing the family, told 41 Action News.

“When a gun seller has notice of a suspicious transaction, they should ask questions about the proposed sale to determine if it is in fact a straw purchase. If they still suspect a straw purchase, they must refuse to sell the weapon,” said Morantz.

Straw purchases 

As a felon, Fraizer Glenn Cross had no legal right to own a gun. Instead, he had his friend Reidle purchase the weapons.

According to the LaManno lawsuit, Reidle and Cross attended the RK Gun Show in Springfield, Missouri, on Oct. 29, 2013. There, Reidle purchased a gun.

He also purchased a shotgun at the Wal-Mart in Lawrence County, Missouri, on April 4, 2014. Four days later, Cross used the gun to shoot and kill.

Last fall Reidle pleaded guilty to lying on ATF forms, saying the guns were for himself. He was sentenced to five years probation.

Lawsuit responses 

41 Action News reached out to Wal-Mart and the gun show dealer

A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company sends “condolences to the families who lost lost loved ones. Since the [lawsuits] were just filed, the company cannot comment at this time.”

Calls to the gun show dealer went unanswered.

“The LaManno family is seeking justice. Unfortunately, the only way you can do that is through a court of law,” said Accurso.

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