A federal appeals court panel is asking for the Washington State Supreme Court’s help in deciding whether a lawsuit over a 2005 shooting at the Tacoma Mall should be revived.
Dominick S. Maldonado, then 20, went on an eight-minute shooting rampage on Nov. 20, 2005, during which he wounded seven people and took four hostages at a music store in the mall. One of the victims, Brendan McKown, sued the mall’s owners for negligence in failing to protect the customers.
A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit, and McKown, who was paralyzed, appealed.
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judges said Monday that they need help determining to what extent, under Washington state law, the mall’s owner owed a duty to protect shoppers there. They sent three questions to the state Supreme Court, and how the high court answers will help guide the Ninth Circuit’s ruling.
In October 2007, a Pierce County jury convicted Maldonado of 15 crimes in connection with the shooting spree. He was sentenced to 163 years in prison.The Associated Press