BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Additional lawsuits tied to the Tops mass shooting were announced Wednesday, with over a dozen survivors and the son of a deceased victim seeking damages from a list of people and entities they accuse of enabling the racially motivated massacre.
Two civil lawsuits were announced: One on behalf of Wayne Jones, who lost his mother, Celestine Chaney, in the shooting, the other on behalf of 16 shoppers and store employees who were inside the store or in the parking lot as the shooting took place.
“These two lawsuits are to answer this horrific injustice by shining a spotlight on this American disease of racism and gun violence that has metastasized every community in America,” Charles Bonner, an attorney representing Jones and a group of the plaintiffs, said in a press conference. “All of those who participated — directly and indirectly — in contributing to this unrestorable loss, injury and harm must be held accountable.”
The list of defendants named in the suit includes Reddit, Google and its subsidiary YouTube — all sites which the suits claim are to blame for the white supremacist radicalization of the gunman, Payton Gendron, who believed in the fake conspiracy theory called the “great replacement.”
Others named in the lawsuit include the Broome County shop where the gunman purchased his weapon, a gun accessory manufacturer and the shooter’s parents.
The plaintiffs are being represented by the firms Everytown Law, Bonner & Bonner and Ryder Law.
“We aim to change the corporate and individual calculus so that every company and every parent recognizes they have a role to play in preventing future gun violence,” said Eric Tirschwell, an attorney with Everytown Law. “If they act recklessly and irresponsibly in ways that fuel our gun violence epidemic, they will be held accountable.
The lawsuits detail the trauma each person now deals with more than a year after the shooting took place. Many say they cannot sleep, must now take antidepressants and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jones says he saw the internet live stream of the shooter killing his mother — an image that replays in his mind every day. He says this lawsuit is to prevent another family from feeling the pain he and his loved ones continue to feel.
“I found out my mom had passed away on the internet … and no one’s reached out to apologize,” Jones said. “No one’s said anything.”
In recent months, multiple other lawsuits have been filed against social media companies, gun manufacturers, gun retailers, Gendron’s parents and others for their alleged involvement in the racially motivated mass shooting.