The family of an off-duty Chicago police officer who was shot and killed three years ago by gang members is filing a lawsuit against the Mississippi gun dealer where the weapon was purchased.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence on Wednesday announced the lawsuit filed by the family of Thomas Wortham IV in a news release. Wortham had just returned from Iraq after serving in the National Guard when he was shot outside his family home by men trying to steal his motorcycle.
"It is really ironic that he was able to survive two tours of duty in Iraq, but could not survive the streets of the south side of Chicago," Carolyn says. "Although I have to live with what has happened to my son for the rest of my life and I have to get up every day thinking about that. I don't ever want any other mother or any other family to have to go through this."
The lawsuit alleges Ed's Pawn Shop and Salvage Yard in Byhalia, Miss., was negligent in selling the weapon to a man they knew or should have known was conspiring with a gun trafficker.
The suit alleges the shop sold at least eight semi-automatic weapons to two purchasers on the same day the gun used to kill officer Wortham was purchased.
"The fact that traffickers go to places like Mississippi in order to get guns for Chicago criminals, shows how Chicago's gun laws do work," says Jonathan Lowly, of the Bradley Center. "That's why you have traffickers heading so far, at such expense to get the guns for Chicago criminals."
Although the shop did not break any laws, the family feels the owner should have been suspicious when the purchasers came to buy so many guns at once. The Worthams want the shop held responsible.
The owner of the shop did not immediately return a call for comment.
myFOXChicago WFLD reporter Lisa Chavarria contributed to this report
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