Victims in Trolley Square shooting resolve lawsuits against gun dealer
Two survivors of the 2007 shooting at Trolley Square shooting have resolved lawsuits against the pawn shop that sold the gun to the shooter.
Carolyn Tuft settled her lawsuit against Sportsman's Fast Cash and its parent company in February. Tuft was shopping at Trolley Square with her daughter, 15-year-old Kirsten Hinckley, on Feb. 12, 2007, when 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic opened fire on shoppers with a pistol-grip shotgun.
Five people died, including Hinckley, and four others were wounded before police arrived and killed Talovic.
Tuft was hit multiple times but survived. In 2008, she filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in Salt Lake County's 3rd District Court alleging that the pawn shop failed to comply with federal firearms laws when it sold Talovic the gun. Federal laws prohibit the sale of pistol-grip shotguns to anyone under 21.
Attorneys for the pawn shop had argued before a trial judge that the shotgun sold to Talovic didn't qualify for the federal restrictions because it had a removable pistol grip and was designed and intended to be used with a shoulder stock.
Tuft's attorney Mark Williams said Thursday that both sides resolved the case during mediation. Williams declined to explain the details of the resolution, citing conditions it imposed, but said that Tuft was "satisfied." A trial, scheduled to begin next week, has been canceled.
According to Williams, Tuft continues to suffer from her injuries, which included a gaping hole in her back and muscle torn from her arm. Williams said lead pellets from the gunshots could not entirely be removed and remain embedded in Tuft's body near her spine, leaching into her major organs.
Attorneys for the pawn shop took attempts to have the case dismissed the case all the way to the Utah Supreme Court but failed to get it thrown out. Those attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.
Another survivor, Stacy Hanson, resolved a separate lawsuit against the pawn shop in March.Hanson's attorney, Richard Burbidge, said the details of the resolution were confidential but that all the parties had reached "a satisfactory compromise."
Hanson's case was scheduled to go to trial in May in 4th District Court in Utah County, but the trial has been canceled.
Hanson was shot three times as he shopped for a Valentine's Day card for his wife. The attack left him a paraplegic. Burbidge described Hanson as a hero who was shot while confronting and trying to talk to Talovic.
Westley Hill, the store worker who sold the gun to Talovic, pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor for failing to record Talovic, who was from Bosnia, as a resident alien. Hill received one year of probation and a $500 fine.