Jury rules gun shop negligent because a man shot two police officers with pistol obtained at the shop
The jury awarded more than $5 million in damages to the two officers
A Milwaukee jury awarded about $5 million in damages on Tuesday after finding a gun shop negligent for selling a pistol to a man who shot two police officers.
The Milwaukee officers, Bryan Norberg and Graham Kunisch, alleged Julius Burton obtained the gun in June 2009 through a “straw buy” at Badger Guns, according to CNN affiliate WISN.
The officers say the shop personnel were negligent because it was obvious another man actually bought the gun for Burton, who was too young to legally make the purchase, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
Lawyers for the gun shop owners argued the shop clerk and the store owners had no reason to believe that the gun was bought for someone else, the Journal-Sentinel said.
About a month after Burton got the gun, he shot the officers in the head during a routine stop, the Journal-Sentinel reported. Both officers survived but required extensive medical treatment. Burton was given a long prison sentence.
The jury awarded Kunisch about $3.5 million in damages and Norberg about $1.5 million for medical expenses and lost income. The jury also awarded $730,000 punitive damages.
The case is the second to make it to trial since passage of a 2005 federal law granting broad immunity to gun dealers and manufacturers, the Journal-Sentinel reported.
One juror said testimony of the gunshop owners affected her decision, reported CNN affiliate WDJT.
“My gut tells me the defendants are not malicious people, but they’re negligent people,” juror Brett Heaton said,
CNN’s Dani Stewart contributed to this report.