NorCal Shooter’s Victims Sue His Estate for Assault

     ROSEVILLE, Calif. (CN) – A man fired multiple firearms at neighbors’ homes before being killed by police, the victims claim in Placer County state court.
     Mark Devlin, Joyce and Robert Miller and John Weaver sued James A. Moore, personal representative of the estate of William E. Corson on April 27. Karen and Steven Nichols also sued Corson’s estate individually and as conservators under an existing conservatorship for their adult son John Nichols.
     On Dec. 21, 2014, Corson opened fire on his neighbors and their homes then set his own house ablaze before being killed by police, according the lawsuit.
     The neighbors accuse Corson of “firing over 100 rounds of bullets with multiple firearms, including assault weapons, aimed at plaintiffs and their houses, and also lighting a Molotov cocktail-type of device causing Mr. Corson’s house to be engulfed with flames.”
     Corson’s standoff with law enforcement officers lasted several hours before he was shot and killed, according to the complaint.
     The neighbors say Corson’s family “were for many years fully aware of Mr. Corson’s dangerous and disturbing behavior. His father, John Corson, was a professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth College, and his mother, Madeleine Corson, was a school teacher and subsequent chairman of her family’s publishing business, Guy Gannett. In short, William E. Corson’s parents are well educated and knowledgeable about behavioral habits of their son. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and hereon allege William E. Corson had made death threats to his family members close to the time of his death.”
     Corson’s parents are not named as defendants in the suit.
     “Since the incidents are well-documented by law enforcement and the local media, and the facts are undisputed, the only issue is the amount of damages,” the complaint continues.
     The neighbors suffered “destruction to real and personal property, loss of use and loss of value to real and personal property, temporary living expenses and other economic damages,” the complaint states.
     They estimate their losses to be more than $100,000.
     The local ABC affiliate reported two days after the shooting spree that several of Corson’s family members said the man had serious psychological problems and refused to take medication.
     A Placer County Sheriff’s Department spokesman told the Sacramento Bee that Corson had been drinking and sprayed his girlfriend with bear repellant before he began shooting.
     A Sheriff’s Department representative was not available for comment.
     The plaintiffs seek damages for assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass and nuisance, reimbursement of costs and prejudgment interest.
     They are represented by Evan D. Williams of Auburn, who was not available for comment.

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