Brady Center Files Suit Against Gun Seller Who Supplied Juneau Murderer

Family of Juneau's First Murder Victim in Six Years Seeks To Hold Gun Dealer Accountable For Negligence

JUNEAU, Alaska , July 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Lawyers with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Juneau attorney Mark C. Choate filed a lawsuit today on behalf of the family of Simone Young Kim , who was killed on August 4, 2006 , by Jason Coday with a rifle obtained from Juneau gun dealer Rayco Sales .

The suit alleges that two days before the murder, Rayco negligently supplied Coday with the rifle, even though Coday was a fugitive from justice and a methamphetamine user, and was thus prohibited from buying or possessing guns. The suit was filed in the First Judicial District, in Juneau . At the time of the shooting, Kim's murder was the first in six years in Juneau .

Jason Coday repeatedly engaged in bizarre and criminal behavior in the weeks leading up to his murder of Simone Kim . When Coday walked into Rayco Sales on August 2, 2006 , he had a garbage bag containing a sleeping bag tied around him, and he appeared to have little familiarity with guns. Nonetheless, Rayco's owner, Ray Coxe , showed Jason Coday a Ruger .22 rifle, then left him alone with the gun. Coday walked out with the gun soon after. According to Coxe, store personnel did not even notice that Coday or the rifle were missing for several minutes, when $200 was found on the store counter. What precisely happened between Coday and Coxe would have been videotaped by the store's two surveillance systems, but Coxe has claimed that while Coday was in the store both surveillance systems failed to record.

Two days later, on August 4 , Coday used the rifle to shoot Simone Kim , a total stranger, four times, killing him. Simone was 26 years old, working as a painter. He leaves two sisters, a brother, and his parents, all of Anchorage.

Between June 22, 2006 , and August 4, 2006 , Coday had at least 18 run-ins with police throughout the West, including the Henderson, Nevada Police; the Nye County Sheriff's Office in Tonopah, Nevada ; Nevada Highway Patrol in Elko, Nevada ; the Lyon County Sheriff's Office in Yerington, Nevada ; State Patrol in Vancouver, Washington ; U.S. Customs Service Inspection Control in Blaine, Washington ; and Bellingham, Washington Police. After being released to his father's custody after one arrest, Coday escaped, and made his way to Alaska . Numerous people who had even brief run-ins with Coday noticed that he was, at best, odd and distant.

"A deranged criminal like Jason Coday should not be able to walk into a gun store and simply stroll out the door with a gun," said Jonathan E. Lowy , Senior Attorney with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "There is no good reason why a licensed gun dealer can't take simple steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals like Coday. We hope that this lawsuit will encourage gun dealers to act responsibly to prevent criminals from getting guns, while helping Simone Kim's family obtain some justice to compensate for their loss."

As early as 1996, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ("ATF") recommended to federal firearms dealers that they implement certain measures to prevent gun thefts, including keeping display cases locked at all times; showing only one firearm at a time to customers; not leaving customers unattended while handling a firearm; and using electronic security stickers or wires. The lawsuit alleges that Rayco took none of these steps in its store.

"Simone Kim was loved dearly by his family and friends," said Mark C. Choate of the Law Offices of Mark C. Choate of Juneau , co-counsel in the case. "His family simply wants their day in court, to obtain some justice for this needless, preventable tragedy."

CONTACT: Peter Hamm of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, +1-202-898-0792, phamm@bradymail.org

SOURCE Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence



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