Gander Mountain sued after 13 gunned down in New York massacre


Jiverly Wong walked into an English class at the American Civic Association immigrant social center in Binghampton, N.Y., in April 2009, gunned down 13 people, and then turned his weapon on himself.

Layla Salman Khalil was one of those cut down in the hail of bullets. Now her widower, Samir Muhammad Al-Salihi, has filed a $3.7 million lawsuit against Minnesota-based Gander Mountain for ignoring Wong's alleged mental instability and selling him the gun and ammo used in the attack anyway.

In a rambling letter he sent to a local TV station in New York before the shootings, Wong described a life of frustration with his English, his inability to find work, and what he described as endless victimization at the hands of police.

The lawsuit alleges that Gander employees in New York sold Wong at least four semi-automatic pistols, despite the fact that he repeatedly and regularly appeared "mentally unstable, angry, upset, aggressive," told one Gander employee "fuck you," and was shuttled between Gander employees because he was so hard to handle.

Gander, which denies any wrongdoing, won a preliminary skirmish in the legal battle by successfully getting the suit transferred to a federal rather than state court, and Al-Salihi's lawyer says he expects the retailer's legal team to bury him in a storm of paperwork as the suit progresses.

Gander, now a privately held company that neared bankruptcy in the 1990s, was the subject of a Star Tribune corporate profile last month. Among the ways Gander said it planned to grow and compete with rivals like Cabela's: a new emphasis on shooting schools.

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