Family sues website that allegedly sold Surrey killer a gun

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has launched a wrongful death action against armslist.com

Demetry Smirnov

The family of a slain woman in the U.S. is suing the website that allegedly sold her Surrey killer the gun.

Demetry Smirnov moved to the Chicago area in 2008 after meeting Chicago’s Jitka Vesel through an online dating service. Vesel eventually returned to a former boyfriend and Smirnov returned to Canada.

Surrey’s Smirnov returned to Illinois, after allegedly buying a 40-caliber handgun at armlist.com and Smirnov approached her in a parking lot and started shooting and as he was reloading, she threw her coffee on him and fell to the ground. He continued firing, prosecutors say. She was found with numerous shots to the head and body.

He pleaded guilty to the murder, and has been sentenced to life in prison.

Now, Vesel’s brother is suing the website where it’s believed Smirnov bought the gun.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has launched the lawsuit on his behalf, and said it has filed an action against armslist.com for wrongful death.

It’s the first lawsuit against a gun website for causing a shooting.

“Responsible gun sellers and web site operators, like most Americans, recognize that guns should be sold with the greatest care, to prevent arming dangerous people with the means to kill,” said the Brady Center’s Legal Action Project Director, Jonathan Lowy, counsel for the family.  “Gun sellers and web site operators who facilitate the arming of killers and criminals must be held accountable.  We as a nation are better than an anonymous Internet gun market where killers and criminals can easily get guns.”

The complaint alleges that the website’s design encourages and enables users to evade laws that allow private sellers to sell firearms only to residents of their own state by enticing prospective buyers to search for and find gun sellers throughout all 50 states.

Sales conducted over the Internet frequently have been linked to illegal gun trafficking and sales to minors, and have been connected to the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.  A recent undercover investigation by the City of New York of online firearm sellers found that 62 per cent of private gun sellers agreed to sell a firearm to a buyer who said that he probably could not pass a background check.  The City reported that in the undercover sting, more than half of the gun sellers contacted who were listed by Armslist agreed to sell a gun to someone who said he could not pass a background check, in violation of federal law.

Jitka was killed in the parking lot of the Chicago-area Czechoslovak Heritage Museum where she had been working as a volunteer to prepare for a celebration in honor of former Czech-American Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak.  Ironically, Mayor Cermak was assassinated with a handgun in 1933 while shaking hands with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the intended target of the assassin.

Brady alleges the gun seller pleaded guilty to the illegal transfer of a firearm to an out-of-state person, a felony, and was sentenced to one year and a day in prison.

@diakiw

 

Just Posted

Newton bingo hall to close after April 21

Gateway Casinos ‘working to transition its employees from the Newton facility to other Gateway properties in the region’

‘Significant waitlists’ for early French Immersion programs in Surrey

District struggling to find specialist teachers for French Immersion, Fine Arts and Montessori programs

Surrey MP apologizes for inviting criminal to Trudeau reception

Posing for photos with controversial people has been a bane for politicians

White Rock ‘demoviction’ complaint heard at RTB

Decision expected to be made next week

‘Anti-gym’ for baby boomers opens in Surrey today

Expanding Surrey-born company is brainchild of city’s 2017 Business Person of the Year, Sara Hodson

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Lane closures on Alex Fraser, Port Mann bridges considered to avoid ‘ice bombs’

Province spent $5 million clearing both bridges last years

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read