The family of a woman killed at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, is trying to stop the hatred against the Hispanic community by suing 8chan and the suspected shooter’s family.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in El Paso district court by the children of Angelina Englisbee, one of the 22 people killed on August 3 after a gunman opened fire at a Walmart store in El Paso.
“They have a very important purpose: stop the hate. They want to send a message to domestic terrorists that they are going to be held responsible,” said Jim Scherr, an attorney representing the siblings.
The Englisbee siblings allege the parents and grandparents of Patrick Crusius fostered an environment that encouraged hate crimes, and allowed weapons in Crusius’ home despite his “dangerous propensities,” the lawsuit said.
The siblings, seeking over $1 million in damages, are also suing Cruisus as well as several people and entities linked to 8chan, an online messaging board that has been used by anonymous posters to share extremist messages and cheer on mass shooters. Law enforcement have said they believe Crusius posted a racist, anti-immigrant document on the platform about 20 minutes before the shooting.
“The hate just has to stop. The malice that was brought here from Dallas to El Paso. We just want to stop all the hate and want my mom’s life to have meaning and justice,” Englisbee’s son, William Englisbee, told reporters on Tuesday.
Christopher S. Ayres, an attorney representing the Crusius family, said they were saddened to be brought into the case, but continue committed to respect the court’s processes.
“The reality is that this family, too, was shocked and stunned by these events. We believe the facts will show that the family did nothing other than provide Patrick the love, care, and support that any family would,” Ayres said. “The family’s collective focus remains on respecting and honoring the victims in their suffering, healing and grief.”
Crusius pleaded not guilty earlier this month to a capital murder charge in the massacre. CNN has reached out to an attorney representing Crusius.
A grandmother helping raise her grandkids
Angelina Englisbee had been at the Walmart store buying food and school supplies for her grandchildren when a gunman opened fire. She was a “guiding light” for her family and a generous soul who helped raise her grandchildren, her family said.
“Angelina Maria Silva Englisbee was a hard working self-sufficient single parent who raised her children after the passing of her husband,” they said in the suit.
Their mother was 86 years old but was in excellent health, they said. Many people believed she could live past 100, the lawsuit said.
Englisbee was “loved, revered and respected by all that knew her,” including her seven children, 24 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Website failed to protect lives from hatred, lawsuit says
In the lawsuit, the family claims 8chan and the defendants associated with the platform promoted and encouraged a message of hate against the Hispanic community to “promote their own economic interest and further their life style.”
They should have known of the “schemes, plans and dangerous propensities and hate” of Crusius, the lawsuit says, and they failed to act in any way to protect lives, including that of Angelina Englisbee.
The suit names internet infrastructure company Cloudflare, which supports 8chan, Cloudflare’s owner Matthew Prince, and 8chan founder and software developer Frederick Brennan.
In a statement to CNN, Brennan said he stopped working on 8chan in 2016 and cut all contact with owner Jim Watkins months before the shooting in El Paso and the Christchurch, New Zealand shooting in March.
But he has been working to keep 8chan and its successor offline in the wake of the shooting in El Paso, Brennan said.
“I actually agree that Jim Watkins ran 8chan in a callous, incompetent manner, whether it be by inviting its users to ‘embrace (the) infamy’ the site received from shootings, or by failing to temporarily close specific boards or the entire site in response to tragedies,” he said.
Cloudfare, 8chan, and Prince did not respond to CNN requests for comment on Wednesday. An attorney for Watkins acknowledged the request and said his client was currently traveling.