ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A lawsuit brought by victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre against the gunman’s employer and wife was withdrawn from federal court and filed in state court in South Florida on Monday.
Attorneys for 61 Pulse victims and family members of those killed filed the lawsuit in state court in Palm Beach County, just days after a federal judge said in an order that he doubted federal court was the proper jurisdiction for the case.
The lawsuit claims Omar Mateen’s employer, international security firm G4S, and the wife of Mateen, could have stopped the gunman before the attack last June but didn’t. Forty-nine people died in the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history, and dozens more were injured at the gay nightclub.
The complaint said that G4S bosses knew Mateen was mentally unstable yet continued to employ him as a security guard and didn’t seek to have his firearms license revoked, even after he was investigated by the FBI in 2013 for telling co-workers he had connections to terrorists and a mass shooter. The company has said in statements that it will vigorously defend itself and that the lawsuit was without merit.
The lawsuit also said that Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, knew her husband was going to carry out the killings ahead of time yet did nothing. Salman currently is in jail awaiting trial in a separate criminal case. She has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of aiding and abetting her husband, and obstruction of justice.
Separately, city and county officials in Orlando said Monday that they want the one-year anniversary next June of the Pulse massacre to be marked with acts of love and kindness.
Elected officials said that June 12 officially would be dedicated as “Orlando United Day — A Day of Love and Kindness.”
Officials also announced a series of events planned throughout the day on June 12.
An exhibit of artwork collected from memorial sites set up around Orlando after the massacre will be shown at the Orange County History Center, followed by a memorial service at the site of the former gay nightclub.
Another memorial ceremony will be held in the evening around downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola.
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