Saugus High shooting survivor’s lawsuit moves forward

Sheriff's Deputies stand guard over hundreds of evacuated Saugus High School students at Central Park in Saugus after a shooting incident at Saugus High School on Thursday, November 15, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

A Saugus High School shooting survivor cleared a major hurdle in her case against a website that sells kits and parts for “ghost guns” — the type of gun used by Nathaniel Berhow, which allowed him to take his own life, along with the lives of Gracie Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell, on Nov. 14, 2019. 

Mia Tretta, 16, one of the Centurions injured during the shooting, entered a lawsuit in December, which names the owner and operator of 1911 Builders — a website selling kits, frames, parts, and the tools to create a finished firearm over the internet with no background checks — as a defendant.  

The ruling, released Monday in a Chatsworth courthouse, rejects the gun seller’s motion to dismiss the case because Tretta’s lawyers properly alleged facts that support her claims against the online seller and its owner.  

“In the case, the lawsuit alleges that the shooter’s father was able to order the handgun kit used in the mass shooting online from 1911 with no background check, despite being prohibited from purchasing a firearm because of his dangerous mental health history,” a statement about the ruling from Everytown Law, Tretta’s lawyers. 

“The firearm used by the shooter was a 1911-style .45 caliber ‘Officer Frame’ ghost gun,” the statement reads. “The seller named in the lawsuit sells this ghost gun kit on 1911 Builders, including the entire kit, tools and videos necessary for its full home manufacture.”  

Tretta is also being represented by Walkup, Melodia, Kelly and Schoenberger, a San-Francisco-based firm in the case. 

Officials from 1911 Builders could not be reached for comment as of the publication of this story. Its website is currently password-protected. 

“The lawsuit alleges that 1911 Builders was negligent and has created a public nuisance,” the press release reads. “It asks the court to order the website to stop selling ghost gun frames, receivers or kits unless and until they are in compliance with state and federal law, and it also seeks damages.” 

Tretta’s lawyers allege the website nor its owner have a license to sell firearms and that discovery in the case remains ongoing.  

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