A college student injured in last week’s mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip has become the first victim to sue MGM Resorts International.
Twenty-one-year-old Paige Gasper, who is from Texas and goes to school in California, was shot in the chest while attending the festival Sunday night, requiring multiple surgeries.
The complaint, filed Tuesday in Clark County District Court, also names deceased gunman Stephen Paddock, who fired into the festival crowd the night of Oct. 1, killing 58 concertgoers and injuring 489 others.
It also names Slide Fire, which it identifies as the inventor of the bump stocks Paddock used to modify his guns to increase their rate of fire. The company did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.
MGM told TheWrap in a statement Wednesday the company’s focus “is taking actions to support the victims and their families, our guests and employees and cooperating with law enforcement.”
“Out of respect for the victims we are not going to try this case in the public domain and we will give our response through the appropriate legal channels,” MGM said.
A spokesperson for Live Nation also declined to comment “specifically on pending litigation,” telling TheWrap: “We continue to be devastated by the tragedy at the Route 91 Festival, heartbroken for the victims, their families and the countless people forever impacted by this senseless act of violence and are cooperating fully with the active FBI investigation. “
Earlier this month, Paddock, 64, used multiple rifles, some equipped with “bump stock” devices that allow for rapid fire, to murder and injure concertgoers at the Route 91 festival from his luxury suite at the Mandalay Bay hotel. Both the hotel and the plot of land across the street where the concert was held are owned by MGM Resorts.
Gasper’s friends set up a GoFundMe page for her, which had raised more than $4,400 toward its $10,000 goal Wednesday.
“Paige is very dynamic and has such a bright future ahead of her,” the GoFundMe site said. “This won’t stop her, but let’s not allow it to slow her down either. Join me in helping assure this tragic moment doesn’t become a hindrance or barrier for her in any way. We’re so proud of her and all the hard work she’s done in her life thus far, let’s ensure her dreams are fulfilled.”
As more details emerge about the chaotic scene at Mandalay Bay Hotel, an MGM property, earlier this month, the casino conglomerate is bracing for further lawsuits from victims accusing the company of negligence in the way it handled the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Attorney Richard Patterson spoke to TheWrap prior to Gasper’s lawsuit about a separate lawsuit he plans to file on behalf of several other victims. He says the hotel, which also owns the site where the outdoor concert took place, failed to adequately protect its patrons and made decisions that may have contributed to the number of casualties and the scale of the tragedy.
Paterson’s clients include Travis Phippen, who watched his father being fatally shot as they helped other victims during the shooting.
Patterson argues that concert staffers used poor judgment when turning on the flood-lights as the shooting began, allowing the shooter a clear view of his intended targets. Patterson also contends that Live Nation, the concert promoter, failed to adequately train its security staff.
“If anyone has any experience in risk management or terrorism expertise, the first thing they teach you is: turn off the light, pull down the blinds and find cover, period,” he said.