Lawsuit in Binghamton shooting rampage dismissed
Binghamton, N.Y. • A federal judge has dismissed a $3.75 million lawsuit filed against sporting goods retailer Gander Mountain by the husband of a woman killed in a shooting rampage at a Binghamton civic organization four years ago.
Samir Muhammad Al-Salihi's lawsuit filed in April 2011 alleged that the St. Paul, Minn.-based company's employees were negligent in selling Jiverly Wong semi-automatic pistols and ammunition. Al-Salihi's wife was among the 13 people who Wong killed at the American Civic Association in April 2009 before committing suicide.
The lawsuit alleged that Wong exhibited signs of being mentally unstable while purchasing the firearms, and that Gander Mountain should have been on notice that he was likely to use the guns to harm himself or others.
U.S. District Judge Norman Mordue dismissed the complaint in a 30-page decision issued Friday, according to the Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton.
"There is simply no evidence demonstrating that ... Gander Mountain knew or should have known that Wong posed an unreasonable risk of harm to himself or others," Mordue wrote.
According to court documents, Wong purchased two firearms at Gander Mountain's former Johnson City store that were later found at the scene of his shooting rampage.
Arguments in the lawsuit hinged on evidence of Wong's behavior in front of Gander Mountain employees. Four current and former workers were subjected to depositions, and Gander Mountain provided a videotape of Wong's presence in the store.
Mordue drew heavily from the employees' statements.
"He was a quiet man who frequently visited the store, was always by himself, and never caused trouble while on the premises," Mordue wrote.
Kelly Fischer, the Binghamton-based attorney representing Al-Salihi, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Al-Salihi's lawsuit against Gander Mountain had been the sole civil lawsuit stemming from the shooting.