Survivors Represented by Everytown Awarded $4M in Damages in Wrongful Death Suit Over Son’s Shooting Death in Kansas City
Everytown Law: ‘Holding Bad Actors Accountable for their Dangerous Behavior is a Crucial Part of Preventing Future Shootings’
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Missouri court on Tuesday awarded $4 million in damages to the parents of Alvino Dwight Crawford against a former fire captain who trafficked 77 firearms into the Kansas City area, including the one used to kill Crawford on July 5, 2016. The ruling comes nine months after a settlement in which a separate defendant in the suit, the gun dealer who had sold the murder weapon, agreed to stop selling firearms. The manufacturer of the firearm used to kill Crawford also declared bankruptcy after a judge ruled that the case against it could go forward.
Everytown Law, the litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, represents Mr. Crawford’s parents, along with attorneys from Williams Dirks Dameron LLC of Kansas City, Missouri.
“This is a victory for our son, Dwight,” said Alvino and Beverly Crawford. “No other family should lose a child the way we did, and our hope with this lawsuit was to spare other families what we’ve gone through by deterring even one person from contributing to gun trafficking. We hope this ruling will do just that.”
“Holding bad actors accountable for their dangerous behavior is a crucial part of preventing future shootings,” said Alla Lefkowitz, director of affirmative litigation for Everytown Law. “Because the Crawfords took action, the manufacturer, dealer and trafficker of the firearm that killed Dwight Crawford have all faced consequences for their actions.”
The gun used to kill Alvino Dwight Crawford was one of 77 firearms trafficked in the Kansas City area by former Kansas City firefighter, James Samuels, who has since pled guilty to criminal charges arising from this illegal firearms trafficking scheme. According to documents filed in federal court, other guns allegedly sold by the trafficking ring were recovered as part of criminal investigations in Kansas City and Chicago. The whereabouts of still dozens more of these illegally trafficked guns remain unknown.
In June of 2019, Alvino and Beverly Crawford filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Samuels, as well as the manufacturer of the murder weapon, Jimenez Arms, and the dealer who sold it to Samuels, Green Tip Arms. Jimenez Arms filed for bankruptcy in February of 2020, days after the court denied its request to dismiss the claims against it. Later that month, the court approved a settlement between Green Tip Arms and the Crawfords in which Green Tip Arms 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.
The Crawford family is continuing their fight in bankruptcy court to ensure that Jimenez Arms does not improperly transfer assets out of the bankruptcy estate to its successor firearms business, JA Industries, LLC. The ATF licensed JA Industries despite evidence showing that Jimenez Arms had repeatedly broken federal gun laws, had been threatened with ATF prosecution for providing firearms to someone prohibited from possessing them, had hidden information from the ATF, and had failed to pay more than $1.3 million in federal and state taxes.
In addition, in September, the bankruptcy court approved a bid by Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund to purchase Jimenez Arms’ remaining firearms inventory in an effort to keep its firearms inventory from being transferred to JA Industries, LLC. Everytown arranged for a licensed FFL to take possession and destroy these cheap guns favored by criminals, in order to prevent any possible distribution into the illegal market.