KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Everytown Law represents Alvino and Beverly Crawford in a lawsuit against an alleged gun trafficker, manufacturer, and dealer. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants contributed to the wrongful death of their son, Alvino Dwight Crawford (who went by Dwight). The defendants in the lawsuit are: Jimenez Arms, Inc., a manufacturer based in Nevada; Green Tip Arms LLC (Missouri) and its successor entity Green Tip Arms LLC (Arizona); Christopher Bendet, the owner and operator of Green Tip Arms in Missouri and in Arizona; and James Samuels, a former Kansas City firefighter who also faces federal firearms trafficking criminal charges.
The plaintiffs contend that the defendants participated in, facilitated, and profited from an illegal gun trafficking ring. Between 2013 and 2018, dozens of illegal firearms flowed into the Kansas City area because of the trafficking ring, including the firearm used to murder Dwight on July 5, 2016. The lawsuit alleges that James Samuels acted as an unlicensed gun dealer, illegally purchasing firearms and reselling them to individuals he knew were unauthorized to possess them. To complete these transactions, Samuels used federally licensed firearms dealers in Kansas City, including Green Tip Arms. Additionally, Jimenez Arms manufactured 57 of the 77 known illegally trafficked firearms in the scheme. The lawsuit alleges that at the beginning of the five-year trafficking scheme, Jimenez Arms interacted with Samuels directly, selling him firearms despite clear signs that he was acting as an unlicensed gun dealer. Jimenez Arms manufactured, Green Tip Arms sold, and Samuels purchased the weapon used to kill Dwight Crawford.
The Crawfords hope to hold these actors accountable for the death of their son. Kansas City has one of the highest homicide-per-capita rates, generally ranking in the top ten in the nation in the past few years. In 2016, Dwight Crawford’s murder was one of 131 in the city. Ninety-six percent of murders in 2018 involved a firearm, with handguns the most frequently used.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri has charged Samuels with fourteen counts related to his trafficking in firearms. He has pled not guilty; the charges are accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The lawsuit, filed in the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, seeks damages from all defendants and injunctive relief against Jimenez Arms specifically. The Crawfords are represented by Everytown Law and Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman.
As part of this case, on February 19, 2020, a Jackson County judge approved a settlement agreement between the parents of Alvino Dwight Crawford and Green Tip Arms, the gun dealer that sold the firearm used to kill their son in 2016. Under the settlement agreement, Green Tip Arms, has agreed to stop selling firearms, to surrender its federal firearms license to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and to dissolve the company. Christopher Bendet, the owner of Green Tip Arms, has agreed not to sell firearms for profit at any time in the future and that any firearms sold from his personal collection will be subject to a background check.
On February 10, 2020, Jimenez Arms, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Nevada. The Crawfords have filed a proof of claim and are seeking discovery.
On November 17, 2020, the Court awarded $4 million in damages to the Crawfords, against defendant James Samuels.
Survivors Represented by Everytown Awarded $4M in Damages in Wrongful Death Suit Over Son’s Shooting Death in Kansas City
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Photo Credit: Tammy Ljungblad from the Kansas City Star