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Parents of Newtown victims indicate lawsuits coming

HARTFORD, Conn. — The parents of some children killed in the 2012 Newtown school shooting have filed court documents indicating they plan to file wrongful death lawsuits, but it’s not clear who would be sued.

Parents of 11 of the 20 first-graders shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School have filed papers in Connecticut probate court seeking to create estates for their children, a move that would allow the parents to file such lawsuits. Most of those parents checked a box on the forms saying they intend to file wrongful death actions, according to a probate court clerk.

The documents, however, don’t say who would be targets of such actions.

Nine of the estate filings were made this month, while the other two were filed in 2012 and 2013, according to probate court records. The Hartford Courant first reported the filings late Monday.

Sunday is the second anniversary of the shootings. The statute of limitations to file civil lawsuits involving actions that cause death is generally two years, under Connecticut law. That time limit is three years in other kinds of lawsuits, such as product liability claims against gunmakers, for example.

Several parents who filed the estate documents didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Sandy Hook Promise, a Newtown-based nonprofit group that advocates for gun violence prevention and mental wellness programs, said several parents were declining to comment about the probate court filings.

The filings involve 11 children killed in the massacre: Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Dylan Hockley, Jesse Lewis, Ana Marquez-Greene, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Jack Pinto, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman and Benjamin Wheeler.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his way into the school with a Bushmaster rifle and killed 20 children and six educators, then shot himself to death with a handgun. The school shooting came after Lanza killed his mother, Nancy, at their Newtown home.

State investigations into the shooting indicated that Lanza was interested in mass killings, played violent video games and had books that dealt with death. State police reports also included descriptions of Lanza’s disturbing childhood writings, his access to his mother’s legally owned guns and his mental health troubles and sporadic treatment.

Days after the killings, lawyer Irving Pinsky asked a state agency for permission to sue the state for $100 million on behalf of an unnamed 6-year-old survivor of the massacre, saying state officials failed to shield his client from foreseeable harm. Pinsky withdrew the request days later.