A lawsuit filed last month against Austin Hancock, convicted of the February Madison Jr./Sr. High School shooting, and his family, apparently names the wrong grandparents as the owners of the gun used by the teen.
The more than $350,000 lawsuit against Austin Hancock, convicted of bringing a gun to school and firing the shots that injured four classmates, was filed June 15, just days after Hancock, now 15, was sentenced to the Ohio Department of Youth Services until his 21st birthday.
Attorney Blake R. Maislin of Cincinnati filed the lawsuit on behalf of students Cameron Smith, Brant Murray and his sister, Genna, and their parents.
The lawsuit alleges negligence and recklessness by Hancock and his family that led to the shooting in the school cafeteria on Feb. 29.
Melody Hollinsworth, legal custodian of Smith, and Ginger Weaver, mother of Brant and Genna, brought the lawsuit against Hancock’s parents, James T. and Sarah Hancock, and his grandparents Brian and Donna Hancock, for emotional distress and medical expenses in the wake of the shooting.
The lawsuit states, “On or about Feb. 29, 2016, defendants Brian A. Hancock and Donna Antoinette Hancock, were the owners of the handgun that is the subject of this complaint and had a duty to properly secure the firearm…”
Hancock, however, told Butler County Sheriff’s Detective Rob Whitlock that he took the handgun from his “Grandma Joyce’s the night before,” according to a review of Butler County Sheriff’s investigation documents by this news outlet.
Also included in the investigation documents is a police report from Joyce Brogan, of Beavercreek, Hancock’s great-grandmother who is the grandmother of his biological mother.
Filed on Feb. 29, the police report states a handgun and five rounds of ammunition had been stolen from her residence.
Brogan said of the theft complaint, “My great grandson spent the night Saturday night, he came up with my daughter (grandmother). When my granddaughter called her mother to say there had been a shooting at Madison High and that Austin was the shooter, I checked where I kept the gun and it was missing. It was not loaded but checked the box of bullets and found five missing. I then called the police to report it.”
The gun taken from Brogan was a Sig Sauer .380 handgun, which is the same used by Hancock, according to investigators.
“If we stand corrected, we will refile the suit,” Maislin told this news outlet. The Cincinnati attorney declined to comment further.
Investigators have said guns were found after the shooting at Hancock’s Browns Run Road residence, but they were locked up, according to investigators.
In an email message sent to this news outlet, Brian Hancock said, “We wanted everyone to know that the gun did not come from us.”
Students Cooper Caffrey and Katherine Douchette, who were injured in the shooting, are not a part of the lawsuit.
Shrapnel struck Brant Murray when Hancock pulled a gun out of his lunch box and began shooting. Brant’s sister, Genna, was not hit, but was in the “zone of danger (and) suffered severe emotional distress,” according to the lawsuit.
The family and victims are suing Hancock’s parents for “negligence, recklessness and wanton breach of duty.”
Hollingsworth and Weaver are also suing because they claim they lost the “love (and) affection, solace and services of their minors.”
The case has been assigned to Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster and a jury trial is requested. There have been no hearing dates set.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.