A California college student filed suit Tuesday against the manufacturer of devices that enabled a gunman to rapidly rain bullets on a crowd gathered for a country music festival in Las Vegas earlier this month after she was seriously injured in the deadly attack.
Also named in the suit were MGM Resorts International, Mandalay Corp., Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and the estate of Stephen Paddock, the man who turned a gun on himself after killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more in the Oct. 1 attack.
Las Vegas police said Paddock, 64, opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest music festival from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel.
Investigators said they found 12 rifles in his room that were fitted with bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at nearly the rate of automatic guns.
Paige Gasper, 21, was wounded in Paddock’s attack. A bullet hit her in her right underarm and traveled through her chest, shattering her ribs and lacerating her liver, according to the suit filed Tuesday in Clark County District Court. Friends tried to help her, but were hampered by other fleeing concert-goers, who trampled Gasper in their haste. She was saved by a good Samaritan, who pulled her behind the cover of a dumpster, the suit said. Another stranger drove her to Spring Valley Hospital for treatment.
On Tuesday, Gasper sued Slide Fire Solutions, the company that made the bump stocks used by Paddock, on accusations that the company was negligent and its products have design and manufacturing defects, Reuters reported.
Gasper accused MGM Resorts and Mandalay Corp., its subsidiary, of failing to quickly respond to the shooting of Mandalay Bay security officer Jesus Campos, who police said was shot while checking on Paddock six minutes before the 64-year-old commenced his attack. She also accused the companies of failing to monitor Paddock, who brought multiple weapons to the hotel and set up surveillance cameras outside his room.
“How did the hotel not know about that? Why wasn’t that a red flag?” Michelle Tuegel, an attorney representing Gasper, asked the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The company can talk about hearts and prayers, but this lawsuit is about action and answers. Paige wants answers.”
Gasper said in her lawsuit that Live Nation, the organizer of the Route 91 Harvest music festival, and MGM failed to provide visitors with adequate emergency exits, hampering efforts to escape the massacre.
In a statement released to the Review-Journal, MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong called the Oct. 1 shooting a “meticulously planned, evil, senseless act.”
“As our company and city work through the healing process, our primary focus and concern is taking actions to support the victims and their families, our guests and employees and cooperating with law enforcement,” DeShong said. “Out of respect for the victims, we are not going to try this case in the public domain and we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels.”
Victor Schwartz, an attorney who specializes in injury cases, told Reuters that it won’t be easy to hold MGM liable for Paddocks’ attack.
“Victims would have to show the company could have foreseen the shooting and take steps to prevent it,” Reuters reported. “That would be difficult for such an extreme event.”
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