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Parents of Pakistani Exchange Student Killed in Mass Shooting at Santa Fe High School Sue Shooter’s Parents

Everytown for Gun Safety’s Litigation Team is Representing the Parents of Sabika Sheikh, Who Would Have Turned 18 This Week and Whose Story Was Featured in a Now-Viral Video

GALVESTON, Texas – The parents of Sabika Sheikh, a high school student killed in the May mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, today filed legal claims against the shooter’s parents, alleging that the shooter’s parents knew their son was experiencing extreme emotional distress but failed to take basic steps to responsibly store and prevent him from accessing their firearms. Sheikh’s parents are represented by Everytown for Gun Safety’s litigation team and by attorney Clint E. McGuire of the Texas firm Martinez and McGuire PLLC. They are filing these claims just days before Sabika would have turned 18, on December 1, 2018.

On the day she was killed at Sante Fe High School, Sabika Sheikh was less than three weeks away from returning to her home in Pakistan after spending a year as an exchange student in the U.S. Sabika was a youth ambassador with the State Department sponsored Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, which is administered by American Councils for International Education, the American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation and I*Earn. She had excelled academically and threw herself into American life, volunteering at the local library, dressing up as a pirate for Halloween, keeping score at the high school’s baseball games and attending prom.

“No other parent should ever have to experience this unbearable grief,” said Abdul Aziz and Farah Naz, the parents of Sabika Sheikh. “Sabika’s picture is in front of our eyes every single moment, and her voice and laughter echo in our ears. For a mother and a father, this trauma and mourning stay until their last breath. We are grateful to everyone in the U.S. and around the world who met us in person and reached us through emails, print, electronic and social media to express solidarity and empower us to endure this most profound tragedy.”

In a legal filing available here, Sheikh’s parents joined a lawsuit in which family members of some of the 10 people killed at Santa Fe High School allege the shooter’s parents negligently and irresponsibly stored their firearms, which the shooter ended up using in the shooting. The suit also alleges the shooter’s parents failed to respond to and address warning signs that their son posed a risk to others.

“Like all gun owners, gun-owning parents have a responsibility to securely store their firearms,” said Molly Thomas-Jensen, counsel for Everytown for Gun Safety. “What happened at Santa Fe High School is a tragic reminder of why responsible gun storage is so critical. We’ll do all we can to deliver some measure of justice for Sabika’s family – and to prevent future tragedies by highlighting the deadly risks of irresponsible gun storage.”

Today’s filing is the latest action by Everytown’s litigation team to promote legal accountability for the irresponsible storage of firearms. After the city of Seattle passed a responsible gun storage ordinance in July, Everytown’s litigators helped secure the dismissal of an NRA legal challenge that would have blocked enforcement of the ordinance. Everytown’s litigation team is also defending the city of Edmonds, WA, which also passed a responsible storage ordinance this year.

Sabika Sheikh