Officers hurt in New Hope City Hall shooting sue gun dealer
NEW HOPE, Minn. (KMSP) - A pair of police officers who survived a shooting at the New Hope City Hall are filing a first of its kind lawsuit in Minnesota. The officers are suing a local gun dealer who sold the weapon used in the shooting.
More than two years after the confrontation at New Hope City Hall, the surgeries, the strains on his family, and a change of departments have taken a toll on former New Hope Officer Beau Schoenhard.
“It doesn't go away,” said Schoenhard. “It's there every day.”
He finds that night still tough to talk about.
“As I was holding Ray Kmetz and the gun, I started hearing more rounds and I knew I was in a very bad place,” he said. “I felt a round enter my hand and I felt it exit my arm.”
During a city council meeting in January 2015, 68-year-old Ray Kmetz entered City Hall with a shotgun.
Schoenhard was hit by return fire after he talked to Kmetz. The one round Kmetz did fire hit Officer Josh Eernisse in the shoulder.
“This is again about holding people responsible to doing the right thing, not just cutting corners, taking the easy route and making a few dollars,” said Eernisse.
Both officers now part of a civil lawsuit against Full Metal Gun Shop in Princeton and its owner, Troy Buchholz, who they say either knew, or should have known, he was selling a gun to a "straw buyer."
“About five percent of gun dealers in America sell about 90 percent of the guns used in crime in America,” said Jonathan Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
“We are not challenging in any way shape or form the constitutional right to bear arms,” said Philip Sieff of the law firm Robins-Kaplan.
Ray Kmetz had a history of mental illness and was not allowed to own guns, but bought the one he used in New Hope in an online auction.
He sent Michael Garant, who pled guilty to federal charges, as his straw buyer to pick it up.
They allege the gun dealer should never have made that sale, had he followed the law.
“I think about this injury every day,” said Schoenhard. “It hurts every day. I look at it every day and it's something that my family and I have to deal with every single day.”