A surviving victim of the Trolley Square massacre has filed suit against the gun shop and the employee who sold the shotgun used by Sulejman Talovic to shoot her and fatally shoot her daughter.
Carolyn Tuft has filed a wrongful death suit against Rocky Mountain Enterprises Inc., a Nevada corporation that owns and operates Sportsman's FastCash in Salt Lake City. The suit also names gun dealer Westley Wayne Hill.
"Hill sold the pistol-grip shotgun at Sportsman's to Talovic in violation of federal law," the suit states. "At the same time of the sale, Hill knew or should have known that Talovic was a resident alien, originally from war-torn Bosnia where he was exposed to violence and killing."
The suit also states that Hill should have known that Talovic, 18 at the time, was too young to purchase the weapon.
According to police, Talovic entered Trolley Square on Feb. 12, 2007, armed with the shotgun purchased at Sportsman's and a handgun purchased off the street. He killed five people and wounded four others before being gunned down himself by police.
Tuft's suit states that while she and her daughter, Kirsten Elizabeth Hinckley, were in the Cabin Fever novelty store, Talovic entered and shot Tuft in the side with the shotgun and shot Hinckley in her "left flank." As Hinckley lay on the floor, suffering from damage to her left lung, spleen, stomach, pancreas, liver and left kidney, the suit states Talovic exited the store to reload. He then re-entered the store, pressed the barrel of the shotgun into Tuft's back and shot her point-blank. He then turned back to Hinckley and shot her in the side of the head, immediately killing her.
In her suit, Tuft says she has permanent pain and suffering and has undergone significant medical treatment and surgeries. She also suffers from lead poisoning caused by shotgun pellets that remain lodged around her vital organs, muscles, tissue and spine. The poisoning poses a "life-threatening condition."
Tuft is seeking damages for wrongful death, negligence and claims of public nuisance.
After the shooting, federal officials charged Hill with failing to maintain firearm records. Hill struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors and was sentenced last December to one year of probation.Hill could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.