Court rules officer can’t sue gun shop after being shot by suspect

(File Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Supreme Court says an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer cannot sue a gun shop for damages after a suspect shot him with a gun bought at the store.

According to court documents, Demetrious Martin, a convicted felon who was unable to legally purchase or possess a firearm, shot IMPD Officer Dwayne Runnels during a traffic stop in December of 2011. The vehicle was stopped after matching the description of a car connected to an armed robbery and shooting. As Runnels approached the vehicle, Martin exited the car and proceeded to fire two shots at Runnels.

Runnels returned fire, hitting and killing Martin. Runnels was also hit, in the hip, in the exchange. As a result of the shooting, Runnels endured serious physical injuries and financial damages.

Prior to the shooting, Tarus Blackburn and Martin entered KS&E Sports, where Blackburn purchased the firearm used in the shooting. However, after leaving establishment Blackburn sold the gun to Martin for a profit in a “straw purchase.”

Documents also show that in May 2012, Blackburn was charged and pleaded guilty to being a straw purchaser, posing as the buyer of firearm, which was actually intended for Martin.

Nearly two years after the shooting, in Dec. 2013, Runnels filed a suit against KS&E Sports. Runnels’s suit alleged he was harmed due to KS&E’s negligent, reckless and unlawful sale  of the gun to Blackburn that eventually went to Martin.

Documents show that the court said Runnels’s could not move forward with his suit seeking monetary damages from the shop. However, they did rule that Runnels can move forward with his public nuisance case against the gun shop because he is seeking equitable relief.

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