UVALDE, Texas (Nexstar) — The parents of two surviving children of the Uvalde mass school shooting are filing a lawsuit against state and local officials, seeking damages for negligence over the police response that took nearly 400 officers more than an hour to enter the classrooms and take down the gunman.
Parents of two unnamed children, identified as M.K. and K.T., filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday, against nearly 20 defendants, including gun manufacturer Daniel Defense and the local shop where the gunman legally bought his firearm and ammunition. The complaint specifically names several responding law enforcement officers, as well as the city of Uvalde and the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.
According to the lawsuit, M.Z. and K.T. were both in classroom 112, where M.Z. was “shot repeatedly, and very nearly died.” Additionally, it says that K.T. risked her own life to try and call 911, begging dispatchers for help.
“K.T. knew that she needed to pretend to be dead to survive, so she lay in blood with her eyes open because she saw that her dead and dying classmates had their eyes open. Both K.T. and M.Z. live with fear, anxiety, and distress. They, and all of Uvalde, will never be the same,” the lawsuit reads.
The complaint alleges that the Robb Elementary School shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead, was “enabled by the illegal, reckless, and negligent actions” of both Daniel Defense and Oasis Outback — the store where the gunman purchased his weapon.
Several specific law enforcement officials are named in the lawsuit, including now-terminated Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Juan Maldonado and Uvalde’s former school police chief Pete Arredondo. The suit goes into extensive details about their actions that day, alleging that Arredondo “intentionally trapped children in the room with the shooter.”
“Not only did they fail to render lifesaving medical treatment, but many officers’ actions also made it much more difficult for emergency medical responders to triage, treat, and transport the injured and dying children and teachers,” the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit shares excruciating details of the trauma that both K.T. and M.Z. experienced during the gunman’s 77-minute rampage — as well as their lasting emotional damage, as both children have been diagnosed with PTSD.
“K.T. also witnessed [the shooter] taunting her classmates who still lived,” the complaint reads. “At one point, he was in classroom 111 and called out, pretending to be the police, asking if anyone in classroom 112 needed help. K.T. tried to convince the girl next to her not to call out for help, but that child did, and [the shooter] came into the classroom and killed her.”
The families are seeking damages against all of the defendants, punitive damages against the gun industry defendants and any other relief the court deems appropriate. The lawsuit does not name a specific price tag for damages, but rather an “amount to be determined at trial.”
Other Uvalde-related lawsuits
This is not the first Uvalde-related lawsuit that has been filed since the May 24 massacre. Some families of victims and survivors have sued the school district and law enforcement agencies, with one class action lawsuit seeking $27 billion in damages.
As details about the police response that day largely remain unknown due to ongoing investigations, fights over public records and transparency have also landed in the courts. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, and the city of Uvalde have both sued the Uvalde District Attorney over records related to the school shooting.
Last August, a Travis County district judge ruled that DPS and the Uvalde DA could keep the records secret for the time being.