Families sue parents of Kentucky school shooting suspect
BENTON, Ky. (AP) — The families of victims of a Kentucky school shooting have filed separate civil lawsuits blaming the suspect’s parents for failing to secure a handgun used in the attack.
The lawsuits say the mother and stepfather of Gabriel Parker were negligent in supervising the teen, who is charged with double murder and assault in the Jan. 23, 2018, shootings at Marshall County High School. Police say Parker, now 16, used his stepfather’s gun.
School officials also are named in a lawsuit brought by the family of Bailey Holt, The Paducah Sun reported. Holt and Preston Cope, both 15, died in the shooting.
A lawsuit filed Wednesday by Cope’s parents names only Parker, his mother and stepfather. In that suit, the family alleges that Gabriel Parker kept “materials, publications, and items devoted to deadly weapons and violence as well as (World War II) and the Nazi Regime.” It also alleges Parker made reference to “the kids (he) may hurt” before the shootings.
A number for Parker’s mother, Mary Minyard, and stepfather, Justin Minyard, could not be located. Court records indicated the couple has a residence in Mississippi.
Police say Parker told them he took a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol from his stepfather’s bedroom the night before the shooting and hid it in a laundry basket.
The lawsuit filed by Holt’s family alleges school system employees knew or should’ve known of Gabriel Parker’s “dangerous propensities” and didn’t monitor or prevent his actions. It says employees failed to comply with school safety regulations, resulting in the shooting.
Mike Owsley, an attorney for the school district, disputed allegations that Parker’s violent tendencies were known and said the school had an action plan.
“This could not have been predicted and prevented,” Owsley told The Paducah Sun.
“Based on what we have learned, there was nobody that anticipated or had any preconceived notions that this young man was violent or likely to be violent,” he said.
A trial date for Parker’s criminal case is pending.
Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com