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September 1, 2014

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Shooting rampage survivors file suits

Three survivors of Zane Floyd's shooting rampage at a Las Vegas Albertson's store are suing Floyd, his parents, the grocery chain and the manufacturer and distributor of the gun Floyd used.

The survivors want to be paid for the emotional trauma they claim to have suffered the morning of June 3, 1999, when Floyd opened fired in the store with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing four people and wounding a fifth victim.

Floyd is on death row after his convictions last July on four counts of first-degree murder. He was also convicted of attempted murder and of sexual assault and kidnapping for raping an outcall dancer at his parents' home -- where he lived -- just prior to the shooting.

Killed in the shooting were Lucy Tarantino, Thomas Darnell, Chuck Leos and Dennis " Troy" Sargent. Zachary Emenegger was shot twice but survived.

Attorneys for the survivors, who filed two suits in Clark County District Court June 1, say they were filed at that time in order to beat the two-year statute of limitations for such claims.

Plaintiff Kenneth Garley, at the time a casino dealer, said in an interview Wednesday he was shopping at the Albertson's store at 3861 W. Sahara Ave. when Floyd walked in and started shooting and chasing people. He sued the killer, his parents and the store for emotional distress.

The store has since been converted to a Raley's market.

Garley, who claims he was chased by Floyd, claimed Albertson's failed to provide adequate security and to warn him of "possible criminal activity."

Garley said an Albertson's employee had told him that Floyd had been removed from the store a week earlier, and had threatened to return to harm the person who had removed him.

Garley, who said he was waiting for a cashier at a checkout stand when he heard a shot, said "Floyd had three chances to get me."

"It was pure luck that I managed to escape. The first chance he had was when he came into the store after shooting Thomas Darnell at the entryway. The gun shot warned me, and I had the opportunity to take off," he said. "The second opportunity happened a few moments later. I ran into Chuck (Leos) ... before he was shot ... and he (Leos) grabbed me by the arm. I wrestled free from him and yelled at him that there was a guy with a shotgun in the store. I ran and then I heard two more gunshot blasts, which I assume killed him."

"I then hid in a beer cooler but got out when I realized it was an unsafe place because I couldn't lock it from the inside. I got out and ran into some other Albertson's employees, and they suggested we hide in the compressor room," he said.

Garley said he and the store employees climbed into the cramped compressor room in the back of the store and watched as the gunman scoured the aisles for more victims.

"The third chance was after we had climbed up a ladder and were on top of the landing near the entrance of the compressor room and we looked down, and he was directly beneath us. If he had looked up, we wouldn't have had a chance," he said.

Garley sued Floyd, his parents, and the gun distributor and manufacturer -- neither of which have been identified. Garley declined comment on why Floyd's parents were sued.

Separately, former Albertson's workers Kelly Ann Pearce and Janine Martinez sued Floyd, Albertson's and a store director, Tony Pre, to recover damages for the "extreme and severe mental anguish and physical pain ... and post traumatic stress disorders" they say they suffered during and after the shooting.

The plaintiffs also charged that Floyd, whom they say was removed from the store a week prior to the shooting, had warned the Albertson's staff he would return.

The suit accused the company of having "previous express and implied notice and knowledge that there was a dangerous and violent situation, but ignored the fact." The suit also said the plaintiffs were imprisoned against their will because the defendants prevented their access to emergency exit doors.

"My clients suffered bruises and superficial scrapes while escaping from him, but the bulk of their injury was psychological," said Gerald Neal, the attorney for Pearce and Martinez.

Pearce, who said she filed for workers' compensation claims after the shooting, alleged Albertson's Pre violated her statutory right to such compensation when he denied her the claims and fired her in what Neal says "appears to be a retaliatory termination, based on her daring to file such claims."

Neal said the plaintiffs intend to seize from Floyd any money the prisoner may obtain from selling the gun used in the crime. Neal said he has heard rumors that offers have been made for the gun because of its notoriety.

"After we obtain a judgment and record it, then any monies Floyd might obtain from his murder could be recovered by us," Neal said. Pre and Miguel Gutierrez, Albertson's spokesman, declined comment on the allegations in the lawsuits.

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