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Witnesses of Buffalo Mass Shooting File Rare Lawsuit Against Social Media and Gun Companies


16 people who witnessed a gunman open fire at a Tops grocery store–but avoided critical injuries–sued Tuesday over the trauma they endured.

In a rare legal move, more than a dozen people who last year witnessed a white gunman open fire and kill 10 Black people at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo, New York, have sued over the trauma they endured.

The lawsuit, brought Tuesday by the nonprofit group Everytown for Gun Safety and exclusively obtained by NBC News, names multiple defendants, including YouTube and Reddit, online spaces where the shooter was allegedly radicalized, as well as the retailer that sold the shooter’s gun and the manufacturer of his body armor. The suit, which also names the shooter’s parents, was filed in New York Supreme Court.

The 16 plaintiffs, most of whom worked at Tops, as well as some customers, survived the racist attack but had to endure moments of terror that left lasting effects, such as nightmares, trouble sleeping, anxiety and paranoia, the lawsuit alleges. Some, according to the lawsuit, have even been unable to return to work at Tops or other jobs. 

“While I escaped without a bullet wound, the terror that the shooter inflicted on me and other survivors will live with us forever. It’s my hope that this lawsuit can help to not only hold the individuals and entities accountable who allowed the shooter to carry out his racist rampage, but that we can also change the conversation around who constitutes a victim following tragedies like this one,” said Fragrance Harris Stanfield, who worked at Tops with her daughter, according to a news release from Everytown. 

More information regarding the specifics of this case can be found here.