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Uvalde families sue Meta, Activision and Daniel Defense for 'grooming' Robb Elementary shooter

Gabriella Alcorta-Solorio
Texas Public Radio
21 crosses stand outside of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2024.

The families of most of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims filed wrongful death lawsuits Friday against companies they refer to as an "unholy trinity" that convert alienated teenage boys into mass shooters.

The companies are Meta, the parent company of Instagram; Activision, the maker of Call of Duty; and Daniel Defense, which manufactured the AR-15 style assault rifle used in the shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.

The lawsuit, filed exactly two years after the shooting, accused the companies of partnering over the last 15 years in a "scheme that preys upon insecure, adolescent boys."

Two years ago, Texas saw the worst school shooting in the state's history. This post is dedicated to the memories of the 21 victims.

“There is a direct line between the conduct of these companies and the Uvalde shooting," said Josh Koskoff, an attorney for the families.

"Just 23 minutes after midnight on his 18th birthday, the Uvalde shooter bought an AR-15 made by a company with a market share of less than one percent. Why? Because, well before he was old enough to purchase it, he was targeted and cultivated online by Instagram, Activision and Daniel Defense," Koskoff said. "This three-headed monster knowingly exposed him to the weapon, conditioned him to see it as a tool to solve his problems and trained him to use it."

Koskoff represented families of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in their lawsuit against Remington, the maker of the AR-15, over their marketing practices. It resulted in a $77 million settlement, the largest payout by a gun manufacturer in a mass shooting case.

“Gun companies like Daniel Defense don’t act alone. AR-15s were available when many of us were growing up, but we didn’t have mass shootings by kids. What has changed is that companies like Instagram and Activision do more than just allow gun companies to reach consumers–they underwrite and mainstream violence to struggling adolescents," he said. "Instagram should stop enabling the marketing of AR-15s to kids by gun companies; and Activision should stop training and habituating kids to kill. It’s that simple.”

Meta and Daniel Defense did not respond to TPR's requests for comment.

In a statement to TPR, Activison said: "The Uvalde shooting was horrendous and heartbreaking in every way, and we express our deepest sympathies to the families and communities who remain impacted by this senseless act of violence. Millions of people around the world enjoy video games without turning to horrific acts."

The case against Meta and Activision was filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles. The case against Daniel Defense was filed in Uvalde District Court.

Koskoff is also representing the Uvalde families in a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety and a settlement with the city and county of Uvalde over law enforcement's failure in the Robb Elementary School shooting.

Nearly 400 officers from local, state and federal agencies waited for more than an hour to confront the gunman. A Department of Justice review that found lives would have been saved if not for unprecedented law enforcement failures.

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