Parents of school shooting victim sue shooter’s parents

Crime Watch 8

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The parents of a school shooting victim are suing the parents of the shooter.

Cory and Julia Whistler, parents of Noblesville school shooting victim Ella Whister, have filed a lawsuit in Superior Court 1 in Hamilton County.

Named as defendants are Kevin and Sarah Moore, parents of the 13-year-old boy who shot Ella and teacher Jason Seaman on May 25 in a classroom at Noblesville West Middle School. 

Whistler survived after being shot seven times, while Seaman, a seventh-grade science teacher, was shot three times. Seaman said the boy returned to his classroom from a bathroom break and opened fire. Seaman said he threw a miniature basketball at the boy as he fired shots, and then tackled the youth and disarmed him.

According to the suit, the parents of the shooter kept handguns and ammunition in a safe adjacent to the room where the shooter “played video games.” The suit says the key to the safe was kept close to the safe and was visible.

“The silencer affixed to the .22-caliber semiautomatic was acquired and possessed without complete adherence to all applicable laws governing the acquisition and possession of silencers,” the suit reads.

The suit also makes several claims about the shooter, stating:

  • “D.M. is a severely troubled person.”
  • “D.M. possessed deep-seated severe personality disorders.”
  • “D.M. takes pleasure in violence against others and lacks empathy.”
  • “D.M. possessed deeply felt desires to provoke fear and intimidate others, to act in ways harmful to others, and to seek to control and dominate others, and D.M. derived pleasure in doing so.”
  • “D.M. suffers from a-social adjustments and empathetic disorders.”
  • “D.M. was obsessed with violence and had a distinct and highly elevated interest in violence and firearms.”

The claim also states the shooter made internet searches for “gun manufacturers, notable school and mass shootings, blueprints for Noblesville West Middle School, and school shooter memes.”

The shooter also made a nearly two-minute long video stating his intention to commit the shooting, which prosecutors showed in court. 

“Kevin Moore and Sarah Moore knew or should have known that D.M. had unusual and potentially violent propensities,” the suit reads.

The suit says the shooter’s parents “should have taken reasonable steps to prevent D.M.’s access to their firearms, ammunition, and other weapons; should have taken steps to more closely monitor D.M.’s behavior, including his internet and other computer use.”

The suit includes the details of the shooter’s Nov. 5 admission of guilt and Nov. 14 sentencing and says the conduct of the shooter’s parents “does not appear to have been either intentional or criminal.” 

The claim alleges two counts against the shooter’s parents: negligence and strict liability. 

On the negligence claim, the shooter’s parents “each owed a duty of reasonable care to the Plaintiffs,” according to the suit, including “the duty to exercise reasonable and ordinary care in the storage and safekeeping of their handguns, ammunition, and other weapons dangerous to the heath and safety of others,” the suit says. 

It also asserts that Ella Whistler’s injuries “were the foreseeable consequence” of the shooter’s parents’ negligence. 

On the claim of strict liability for actions of the shooter, the suit cites Indiana Code that holds parents liable for “up to $5,000 for the knowing, intentional, or reckless tortious acts of the parent’s minor child.”

Whistler’s parents have asked for compensation for their losses and damages and for a jury trial. 

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