The family of one Navy Yard shooting victim filed a lawsuit against two government agencies, claiming negligence lead to the wrongful death of Mary DeLorenzo Knight.
Knight, a 51-year-old computer scientists, was one of 12 people killed in the September shooting spree when a gunman with security clearance opened fire inside the military installation.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Knight’s family alleges that the Department of the Navy and the Department of Veterans failed to revoke shooter Aaron Alexis’ access after several red flags came up about his mental health, reports Reuters.
Justin Givens, a lawyer for the family, cited the shooter’s run-ins with police, along with his history of mental illness. He argued that government agencies should have acted on the information. Givens added, “It’s a colossal failure on the part of multiple agencies that led to a national tragedy.”
ABC News notes that the lawsuit seeks $37.5 million from the government for the death of Knight, a divorced mother of two adult daughters who was born into a military family. Her younger sister, Patricia DeLorenzo, commented, “My sister would want me to fight for her and fight for the girls.”
While Navy spokeswoman Courtney L. Hillson couldn’t comment on the lawsuit, she did say, “The Navy remains committed to providing continued support to the victims and families of this tragic event through our Washington Navy Yard Recovery Task Force.” The Navy also ordered an in-depth investigation into the shooting and events that led up to it, including a look at Alexis and his mental health background.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit alleges that Alexis was delusional and that the VA failed to treat his mental illness when the shooter went to a VA emergency room a month before the shooting for insomnia. The VA already said that Alexis visited hospitals in Washington, D.C., and Rhode Island before the shooting, but denied he was depressed or having suicidal thoughts.
The administrative claim was filed on behalf of the victim’s two daughters and her sister. The claim is the initial step toward filing a formal lawsuit in federal court.
[Image by Tim Evanson via Wikimedia Commons]