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Massachusetts gunmaker to pay $600,000 in gun-death lawsuit

BOSTON — A Massachusetts gunmaker has agreed to pay nearly $600,000 to the families of one man who was killed and another man who was wounded in a shooting involving a gun allegedly stolen from the company, a national gun-control group announced Tuesday.

Danny Guzman, 26, was slain outside a Worcester nightclub in 1999. Armando Maisonet was wounded in the same shooting.

In a 2002 wrongful death suit against Kahr Arms of Worcester, Guzman's family alleged that the gun was stolen and later sold by a Kahr employee with a criminal record.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence announced the settlement in Washington, calling it the largest damages payment ever made by a gun manufacturer accused of negligence leading to the criminal use of a gun.

Guzman's relatives said in their lawsuit that Kahr should have done employee background checks and used metal detectors to prevent guns from being smuggled out of its Worcester factory.

The lawsuit alleged that Kahr employee Mark Cronin — who had a drug problem and a criminal record — stole the gun before it had a serial number stamped on it and sold it to Robert Jachimczyk for a gram of cocaine. The man charged in the shooting, Edwin Novas, then bought the gun from Jachimczyk for some heroin, according to the lawsuit.

Cronin pleaded guilty to the gun theft and was sentenced to two years in prison. Novas is still listed on the Worcester Police Department's website as being wanted in the unresolved killing.

The settlement covers separate lawsuits filed by Guzman's family and Maisonet, who was wounded in the shoulder in the shooting. Under the agreement, the Guzman family will receive 70 percent of the settlement, while Maisonet will receive 30 percent.

Representatives of Kahr Arms could not immediately be reached for comment.

Massachusetts gunmaker to pay $600,000 in gun-death lawsuit 07/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 10:17pm]
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