Parents of Aurora movie theater shooting victim involved in lawsuit against online ammunition seller

Posted at 10:44 AM, Sep 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-17 13:19:45-04

The parents of Jessica Ghawi, one of the victims killed in the Aurora movie theater shooting, are suing the online business that sold ammunition used in the shooting. Her parents filed suit against, BTP Arms, and on Tuesday. 

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, Ghawi's parents, appeared with attorneys and representatives of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence Tuesday to announce the lawsuitagainst Lucky Gunner and other businesses. Doing business as, that business sold the shooting defendant 4,325 rounds for various weapons less than a month before the shooting, according to an ATF special agent's testimony during the preliminary hearing in the criminal case.

"We're putting them on notice, we're coming after you," said Lonnie Phillips. 
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is a 501(c)(3) organization that represents victims of gun violence in cases against gun sellers or owners. They say this pending lawsuit is part of a national campaign against gun dealers they call "bad apples."

"A company should not be able to sell tear gas with the same procedure it would use to sell a pair of shoes," said Kelly Sampson a Brady Center Attorney. 

The lawsuit accuses the four online suppliers of ammunition and military-grade equipment of failing to screen the gunman and making it too easy for him to buy ammunition, tear gas and body armor. 

The formal announcement was held in the Denver offices of Arnold & Porter LLP. The lawsuit was filed in Arapahoe County District Court Tuesday.

A lawyer on the case told KJRH sister station 7NEWS that Ghawi's parents are not seeking monetary damages, but do want to spare other families from similar tragedies by getting a court to order the companies to follow "reasonable business practices."

"This is not to give him fame, not to give him the attention that he seeks it's to give the people of America who lose their lives every single day, a chance, a chance to make things right," said Sandy Phillips at the press conference. 

Defendant James Holmes, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in the July 2012 movie theater shooting, also purchased several hundred rounds from another online retailer who is not mentioned in the email about the lawsuit.