LOUISVILLE, KY – Today, survivors and loved ones of those killed in the April 10, 2023 mass shooting at Old National Bank in Louisville filed a civil lawsuit against River City Firearms Inc., the gun store that sold the weapon to the now-deceased shooter. The survivors are represented by Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, Everytown Law, and Thomas Law Offices. The shooter used an AR-15-style rifle purchased at River City Firearms to murder five of his colleagues at the bank, wound eight more people, including responding police officers, and traumatize others who were present.
The lawsuit alleges that this act of widespread devastation and loss of life was made possible because River City Firearms ignored obvious warning signs when the shooter entered its store to purchase an assault weapon just one week before the shooting. Further, the complaint alleges that River City upsold the shooter, choosing profits over safety by selling him additional tactical equipment, including three additional 30-round magazines, a red-dot sight to increase the accuracy of his aim and a vertical grip for greater control over the weapon.
The complaint alleges that, according to eyewitness observation, the shooter appeared uneasy in the gun store, avoided eye contact, and demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge about guns, which are all well-known warning signs for suspicious gun transactions. Licensed firearm dealers like River City are instructed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that they are the first line of defense in preventing firearms from falling into the wrong hands, and that they should not proceed with suspicious sales. Against the backdrop of a national epidemic of mass shootings carried out by troubled young men wielding AR-15s, River City should have realized that something was amiss. The consequences of ignoring these red flags were foreseeable and tragic.
The lawsuit was filed in Jefferson Circuit Court in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The causes of action in the complaint include negligent entrustment and negligence.
“The Old National Bank mass shooting in Louisville wasn’t just an act of one troubled young man,” said Antonio M. Romanucci, founding partner at Romanucci & Blandin. “As our complaint alleges, the shooter was allowed to purchase an assault weapon because River City Firearms ignored obvious red flags that they were specifically warned about. They were negligent in their responsibilities and chose to make a profit over protecting the community. The gun store and its owners bear responsibility for the devastation at the bank that morning, and our lawsuit seeks to hold them accountable for the damage their actions led to.”
“No one should have to go to work worrying that their morning meeting may turn into the latest act of gun violence in America. But that is exactly what happened to the employees of Old National Bank, leaving families and the community ripped apart and forced to deal with the aftermath of this trauma every day,” said Alla Lefkowitz, senior director of affirmative litigation at Everytown Law. “In this day and age, every licensed firearms dealer is well-aware of the consequences of selling an assault weapon to a customer exhibiting warning signs of instability and knows that they should err on the side of declining a transaction. River City failed in its obligation when it sold an assault weapon and all the deadly accessories to a customer who couldn’t even meet their eye and had no idea how to handle a weapon. We hope this lawsuit will result in much-needed accountability, and some sense of justice for everyone impacted by the shooting at Old National Bank.”
“The devastation done to the Louisville community by this mass shooting is immeasurable, and our clients’ lives are forever altered because of it. They deserve justice for the harms they suffered, but they also feel strongly about using this litigation to bring positive change so other people don’t have to suffer in the same way. Our legal team is committed to fighting for the justice they so deeply deserve,” said Tad Thomas, Attorney and Founder of Thomas Law Offices.
The plaintiffs in this case include the families of individuals killed in the shooting, bank employees who were shot and wounded, including:
- The family of James Tutt, who was shot and killed, including his wife, Karen Tutt;
- The family of Joshua Barrick, who was shot and killed, including his wife Jessica Barrick and their two young children;
- Julie Andersen, who was shot in the arm;
- Jimmy Evans, who was shot in the calf;
- Dana Mitchell, who was shot in the back;
- Stephanie “Dallas” Schwartz, who was shot in the leg
Plaintiffs are represented by founding partner Antonio M. Romanucci, partner David Neiman and senior attorney Sarah M. Raisch from Romanucci & Blandin, LLC; Alla Lefkowitz, senior director of affirmative litigation, Andrew Nellis, counsel, and Emily Walsh, litigation fellow, from Everytown Law; and founder Tad Thomas and partner Kevin Weis from Thomas Law Offices.
Additionally, the estates of Tommy Elliott and Juliana Farmer, who were both killed in the shooting, are represented by attorney Hans Poppe of The Poppe Law Firm. All of the law firms are working collaboratively, and a complaint filed on behalf of those plaintiffs is forthcoming.
- Romanucci & Blandin is proud to represent victims of mass shootings at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, the Fourth of July Parade in Highland Park, Illinois, the Las Vegas Route 91 concert mass shooting and the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting in Orlando. The firm also has experience representing clients harmed by the deceptive marketing of JUUL e-cigarette manufacturer, victims of mass tragedies including the Ethiopian Air flight 302 disaster involving a Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, toxic pollution cases, and a class action on behalf of more than two million people who wrongfully endured “stop and frisk” violations by Chicago Police.
- Everytown Law is the largest and most experienced team of litigators in the U.S. working full-time on advancing gun violence prevention in the courts. Current cases include litigation on behalf of the cities of Chicago and Philadelphia against some of the largest suppliers of crime guns into those cities; on behalf of victims of mass shootings in Buffalo, Uvalde, Highland Park, and Boulder, CO; against online ghost gun retailers; and on behalf of the Ohio NAACP and elected state officials challenging Ohio’s Stand Your Ground law.
- Thomas Law Offices is a national trial practice based in Louisville and dedicated to the community. In addition to their commitment to the plaintiffs in this mass shooting case, they are experienced in advocacy for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one or a traumatic personal injury from the negligence of others.
Plaintiffs’ statements on the shooting and the filing of litigation:
“My initial relief was that I had survived. But in the days and weeks following, the guilt of being one of the survivors was paralyzing. The grief has been overwhelming some days. It is the first thing I think about when I wake up each morning, and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep each night. I know that it will get better with time, but really, no one should ever have to have those thoughts. Yes, our lives now have a new normal, but what we would all give to have our old normal back! I am extremely grateful for life and the opportunity to make a difference. But I am forever sad and heartbroken at the loss we all suffered that day. It was all unnecessary and could have been avoided. We have to do better. We have to.”
“Jim was my amazing husband of 24 years, a father to four, a grandfather to two, and friend to so many. My loss and my family’s loss is catastrophic. We have a gaping hole in our family. My husband is gone way too soon. Though I know my husband is in Heaven, I now live without his companionship. He was my rock. He was supportive, encouraging, kind and funny. The trauma from that day is still fresh in our minds and the pain remains. My goal, or purpose driven by the pain, is to take action to prevent this from ever happening to another family again. My husband just went to work on April 10th – if it can happen to him and the countless others – school children and teachers, concert and movie-goers who have been massacred by acts of gun violence, it can happen to you or your loved ones too. This unimaginable act of domestic terrorism could have been prevented. It is crucial for us all to work together to formulate the solution before it happens to someone you love.”