March 12, 2014 Contact: Jennifer Fuson jfuson [at] bradymail [dot] org 202-370-8128
Kansas City, MO – The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence today filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Janet Delana of Wellington, MO against gun dealer Odessa Gun & Pawn in response to the shooting death of Janet’s husband, Tex, by their daughter. The complaint alleges that Janet Delana informed the gun dealer in a phone call two days prior to the murder that her mentally ill daughter, Colby Sue Weathers, was a potential risk to herself and others and should not be allowed to purchase a gun. Ms. Weathers subsequently shot and killed her father on June 27, 2012 with a handgun she was sold at Odessa Gun & Pawn earlier that day, despite her mother’s warning.
Jonathan Lowy, Director of the Legal Action Project at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C. and co-counsel for Mrs. Delana said: “This is a case about responsibility. While most gun dealers are responsible business people who take care to keep guns out of dangerous hands, sadly there are some who put profits over people and allow gun sales they know or should know could have lethal consequences. All of us should do what we can to reduce America’s unacceptable toll of gun violence, and gun dealers should play an important part in those solutions. We hope this lawsuit will bring some justice to this grieving family, and encourage all gun sellers to act responsibly to keep guns out of the wrong hands."
“The death of Tex Delana was a tragedy that could and should have been avoided,” said David McCollum, co-counsel for Mrs. Delana. “Every person and business has a responsibility not to expose other people to reasonably foreseeable risk of injury.”
This gun sale is not without precedent. According to police reports cited in the complaint, Odessa Gun & Pawn previously sold a gun to a young man who used it to commit suicide. Dangerously mentally ill individuals have also been the perpetrators of numerous recent high-profile mass shootings, including incidents at Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, TX, Tucson, AZ, and Newtown, CT. The complaint, filed in the Circuit Court of Lafayette County, Missouri, alleges that on June 27, 2012, Odessa Gun & Pawn, located in Odessa, MO, sold a Hi-Point .45-caliber pistol to Colby Sue Weathers, and that Weathers used the pistol to shoot and kill her father at their family home shortly thereafter. The suit further alleges that Weathers bought another pistol from the store less than one month earlier, and that Janet Delana called the dealer on June 25, 2012, in order to explain her daughter’s history of severe mental health issues, including suicidal tendencies, and urge the store not to sell Ms. Weathers another gun should she attempt to buy one. The suit alleges that the dealer knew or should have known, based on Janet Delana’s phone call, that Weathers was a danger to herself and others, but that the store ignored this warning and sold Weathers the Hi-Point pistol she later used to kill Tex Delana.
Counsel for the Delana family are Jonathan Lowy and Alla Lefkowitz of the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project in Washington, D.C., and Annette Griggs and David McCollum of McCollum & Griggs of North Kansas City, MO.