McGuire and Lemongello v. Will's
Victory in Holding Gun Dealer Accountable and Landmark Settlement for Police Officers Shot with Trafficked Gun
On January 13, 2001, officers Kenneth McGuire and David Lemongello were shot and injured while on duty in New Jersey. The officers were stationed nearby a gas station in Orange, New Jersey, where a series of recent robberies had taken place. Local law enforcement had been operating an undercover surveillance operation at a local gas station for several weeks. During the stakeout, Detective Lemongello saw Shuntez Everett, a career criminal who matched the description of the suspect, walk past the gas station. When Lemongello, a six-year war veteran, approached Everett to question him, Everett pulled out a 9-millimeter pistol and shot Detective Lemongello.
After shooting Lemongello, Everett fled the scene and other local law enforcement, including McGuire, followed him. During this search, Everett opened fire and shot McGuire in the right abdomen and leg. McGuire and two other officers fired back, killing Everett. Both McGuire and Lemongello survived but suffered severe, debilitating injuries from the attack.
In 2002, Brady filed a complaint on behalf of McGuire and Lemongello, alleging that the gun distributor, Will Jewelry & Loan, and the gun manufacturer, Strum Ruger, negligently sold the gun through a straw purchase to a gun trafficker, who then sold the gun to the underground market allowing the weapon to be in the hands of Shuntez Everett, who was a convicted criminal and prohibited purchaser.
In June of 2004, a landmark $1 million settlement was reached between the law enforcement officers and Will Jewelry & Loan. This settlement was the first time a gun seller paid damages for its role in facilitating gun trafficking to criminals. Will Jewelry & Loan has also implemented a one-handgun-a-month rule in its shop to prevent future problems as a result of the lawsuit.