February 10, 1996 in City

Victim Of Fairchild Shooting Sues Air Force Spokane Woman Says Military Liable For Letting Dean Mellberg Into Base

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A second victim of the 1994 shooting spree at Fairchild Air Force Base has sued for damages, arguing the Air Force is liable for allowing the attack to happen.

Spokane resident Lorraine Murray was one of 22 people wounded when gunman Dean Mellberg opened fire at the base hospital on June 20, 1994. Murray is a single woman “in her 60s,” according to attorney Joseph Blumel, who filed the lawsuit Thursday in U.S. District Court.

In the attack that killed four people, Murray was struck by a bullet in the ankle and suffered hip and shoulder injuries after falling to the ground to take cover. For those injuries and for “past and future emotional distress,” she is asking the court to award her damages of up to $1 million.

Last November, Tacoma resident Michelle Sigman also sued the federal government after being shot twice in the back during the Fairchild attack. Sigman, 26, is seeking $15 million in damages.

One third of that amount is for the loss of her unborn child that resulted from the shooting, Sigman said.

A U.S. District Court clerk said those two lawsuits are the only ones filed so far by victims.

No dates have been set for either case, said a spokesman at the office of James Connelly, U.S. attorney for Eastern Washington. That office will defend against the suits.

Mellberg was killed during the Fairchild siege after firing dozens of rounds from an automatic assault rifle.

He had been discharged from the Air Force because of serious emotional difficulties diagnosed by service psychiatrists.

In the suit, Murray cites 44 acts and omissions by the Air Force - ranging from failure to properly treat Mellberg for his problems while in the service, to not maintaining adequate air base security - to argue that he should never have been allowed access to Fairchild after his discharge.

, DataTimes


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