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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Mall Massacre Gun Sold Illegally, Victim Says

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A pawn shop employee illegally sold a shotgun with a pistol grip to the 18-year-old assassin in the Trolley Square shopping mall massacre, one year ago today, shooting victim Carolyn Tuft claims in Salt Lake County Court.

Defendant Westley Wayne Hill, a licensed firearms dealer working at co-defendant Sportsman's Fast Cash, sold a 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip to teen-age Bosnian refugee Sulejman Talovic without listing his resident alien status on federal forms, the suit states.

Tuft says that Hill should have known Talovic was likely to use the gun for criminal activity, as the pistol-grip shotgun serves no sporting purpose outside military, law enforcement or criminal activities. Federal law prohibited sale of the shotgun to people under 21, the suit states.

Armed with the shotgun, Talovic entered Trolley Square in the early evening of Feb. 12, 2007 and walked into the Cabin Fever retail store where Tuft was shopping with her daughter, the lawsuit states. Tuft says Talovic shot her and her daughter in the side of their bodies, then left the store to reload. Talovic re-entered, pressed the barrel of the gun into Tuft's back, and fired at point-blank range, then shot her daughter in the head, immediately killing her, Tuft says.

Police shot and killed Talovic after he killed five people and injured four.

Tuft seeks damages for her injuries, for the trauma of "witnessing the execution of her daughter," of "anticipating her own death," medical costs, pain and suffering and her daughter's pain and suffering.

She also asks that Sportsman's Fast Cash and its parent corporation Rocky Mountain Enterprises be deemed a public nuisance due to the illegal firearm sale.

The Maverick Arms model 88 pistol-grip shotgun was sold three months before the shooting. It was one of two weapons used in the rampage

Tuft is represented by Mark Williams of Salt Lake City.

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