Families of murdered Uvalde victims sue ‘Call of Duty’ creator and gun maker Meta: ‘This three-headed monster knowingly exposed him to the gun’

The families of a group of Uvalde school shooting victims announced new lawsuits Friday against Instagram parent company Meta Platforms, the creator of the “Call of Duty” video game and the gun company that made the assault rifle used. in the shooting.

The lawsuits against Meta, Activision and Daniel Defense were announced on the second anniversary of the Robb Elementary School attack.

They accuse the companies of partnering to promote and create content designed to glorify combat, gun violence and murder that effectively trained the teenage shooter before killing 19 students and two teachers in one of the deadliest school shootings in US history. USA.

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

Some of the same families filed a $500 million lawsuit Wednesday against Texas State Police officials and agents who were part of the botched police response that day. More than 370 federal, state and local agents responded, but waited more than an hour to confront the shooter inside the classroom as students and teachers lay dead, dying or injured.

Friday’s lawsuits are not the first to accuse technology companies of playing a role in radicalizing or influencing mass shooters. Families of victims of a May 2022 attack on a Buffalo, New York, supermarket are suing social media companies, including Meta and Instagram, over content on their platforms.

The lawsuit against Georgia-based gun maker Daniel Defense was filed in Texas by the same group of 19 families who filed the lawsuit Wednesday. The lawsuit against Meta and Activision would be filed in California along with other families of the victims of the attack.

Activision called the Uvalde shooting “horrendous and heartbreaking in every way, and we express our deepest condolences to the families and communities who continue to be affected by this senseless act of violence.” “Millions of people around the world enjoy video games without resorting to horrible acts.”

A video game industry trade group also rejected blaming the games for the violence, arguing that an investigation has found no link.

“We are saddened and outraged by the senseless acts of violence. At the same time, we discourage unfounded accusations linking these tragedies to video games, which detracts from efforts to focus on the fundamental issues at hand and protect against future tragedies,” the Entertainment Software Association said.

The amount of compensation sought in the new lawsuits was not immediately clear.

According to the lawsuits, the Uvalde shooter had played versions of “Call of Duty” since he was 15, including one that allowed him to effectively practice with the version of the rifle he used in school.

The lawsuit against the gaming company says it has created a hyper-realistic game in which “although the killing is virtual, the weapons are authentic: they are designed to perfectly imitate their real-life counterparts in appearance, feel, recoil and accuracy.” .

Instagram does little to enforce its rules prohibiting the marketing of firearms and content harmful to children, according to the lawsuit.

The gun company pulled off a “marketing coup” with its weapons included in the game, the family’s lawyers said.

“At the same time, on Instagram, the shooter was being courted through explicit and aggressive marketing. “In addition to hundreds of images depicting and venerating the thrill of combat, Daniel Defense used Instagram to praise the illegal and murderous use of his weapons,” the families’ attorneys said in a statement.

The Uvalde shooter opened an online account with Daniel Defense before he turned 18 and purchased the rifle as soon as he could, according to the lawsuit.

A separate lawsuit filed by different plaintiffs in December 2022 against local and state police, the city and other school and law enforcement authorities seeks at least $27 billion and class-action status for survivors. At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Daniel Defense.

Daniel Defense and Meta did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment.

At a congressional hearing in 2022, Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniels called the Uvalde shooting and others like it “pure evil” and “deeply disturbing.”

In Uvalde, community members will gather Friday night for a vigil to remember those killed. Other events have included the ringing of bells and the release of butterflies at a local church.

“As we mark this solemn day, let us pray for those we lost, their loved ones, and all those who were injured,” President Joe Biden said in a letter to the community.

“They should still be with us: playing sports, creating art, dancing, laughing, learning, teaching, and making new memories with their family and friends,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Today we remember their stories, support their loved ones and think about their community.”

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