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$5 Million Claim Filed In Shooting Family Also Seeks School’s Information On Moses Lake Suspect

Lawyers for the family of a 13-year-old severely wounded in a junior high school shooting have filed a $5 million claim against the Moses Lake School District.

The claim by the parents of Natalie Hintz also asks the district to release more information on Barry Loukaitis, who is accused of wounding her and killing three others, Seattle attorney Mary Fleck said.

One purpose of the claim is to find out whether the district knew prior to the Feb. 2 shootings that Loukaitis, 15, was dangerous, she said.

“They just are looking for answers,” Fleck said. “They want to know.”

The $5 million is an estimate of damages suffered by the Hintz family since the shooting, Fleck said.

School district officials had no immediate comment.

Fleck’s associate, James Rogers, announced at a Moses Lake restaurant on Tuesday the family’s decision to file the claim. The two attorneys represent Natalie and her parents, Phil and Shannon Hintz.

Rogers said he specifically wants to look at counseling records to determine what the district knew about Loukaitis before the Feb. 2 shootings.

“We have attempted to obtain school records and talk with school personnel, but have been prevented from doing so,” Rogers said. “Filing a lawsuit is the only means by which they have to obtain information from school records and school personnel.”

Attorneys also have been denied information from the district’s own investigation into the shootings, Rogers said.

“On behalf of Natalie and our family, we are very disappointed with the response of the Moses Lake School District regarding our request for information about Barry Loukaitis and whether this tragedy could have been prevented,” Phil Hintz said Tuesday.

He said the family is cooperating with the criminal investigation.

Loukaitis has confessed to fatally shooting a teacher and two of Hintz’s classmates during the fifth-period algebra class. Killed in the rampage were Leona Caires, 49; Manuel Vela, 15; and Arnold Fritz, 14.

Hintz, 14, is undergoing therapy for a bullet wound that nearly severed her right arm and damaged her chest, diaphragm and liver. She has no movement in her right wrist.

Fleck said it is still unclear how the former middle school athlete will recover from her injuries. Her parents drive her to Seattle three times a week for therapy and she is being tutored at home.

She would like to return to school in the fall, Fleck said.

A claim for damages is the first step to filing a civil lawsuit.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Bonnie Harris Staff writer The Associated Press contributed to this report.


 
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