Family lawyer says he could sue gunmaker Remington in teen's shooting

Published: Apr. 24, 2012 at 11:43 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2012 at 11:56 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The parents of a teenage girl, who was fatally shot back in December 2011 while visiting family, will have to wait a little while longer to see if charges will be filed against the shooter.

The family met for more than an hour Thursday with the DA in Chadbourn, NC.  The family thought there would have been a decision announced, but the DA said he is still investigating.

High profile lawyer Willie Gary was at the meeting.  He said he was pleased with the meeting and says he will go after all those responsible in this death.  He tells WBTV if the gun maker Remington is responsible, he could sue that company.

The shooter, 23-year-old James Blackwell, claims the shooting was an accident, saying his high-powered Remington rifle just went off when the bullet went flying and hit Thar and two others. Thar was the only one who didn't survive.

Her parents don't believe Blackwell's story.

"That's sending out a really negative message out to America," Thar's mother, Claretta McNeil, said. "That we can shoot people and say it's an accident and get away with it and it's okay."

Thar's mothers wants to see Blackwell behind bars.

"Incarceration," the mother said.  "I want him to own up for what he did to my daughter. I have to go see her at the grave."

John Barnett, a civil rights activist and the spokesman for all families involved, said the family will plan boycotts and rallies if they don't think justice will be served after the DA makes his decision.

The mother said she would be devastated if the DA says the shooting death was an accident.

The Chadbourn Police department requested the State Bureau of Investigation to handle the case.

"We are committed to seeking justice and going wherever the truth leads," the District Attorney told WBTV last week. "The public should have every confidence that our final determination will be based on the facts and the law."

Well known Florida lawyer, Willie Gray, has agreed to take Thar's family's case and will be in Chadbourn on Thursday.

Gray was listed in Forbes Magazine as one of the top 50 attorneys in the country.

"He reached out to me," the mother said.  "He heard my story. I looked at him as hearing something that just didn't sound right."

Thar's family says they believe the shooting was racially motivated because investigators reportedly found a Nazi magazine and a Confederate flag in Blackwell's bedroom.

"It's been really hard," McNeill said. "I have been traumatized. She actually died in front of me."

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