Elkhart family files negligence lawsuit in mother’s death

The children of a woman who was fatally shot by a fellow resident of a northern Indiana apartment complex are suing the apartment’s management company, alleging that it failed to protect their mother from the gunman despite knowing of his “peculiar and abhorrent behavior.”

Lawrence Faso, 76, shot and killed Gail Shields and her boyfriend, Jon Malk, on July 31 before killing himself at the Stratford Commons assisted living apartment complex in Elkhart, about 15 miles east of South Bend.

Tanya Shields and Cory Shields filed the lawsuit last week in an Elkhart County court, saying apartment complex manager APT Management didn’t protect their 66-year-old mother from Faso. They’re seeking damages, The Elkhart Truth reported.

APT of Woburn, Massachusetts, did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says the apartment complex and its managing company knew about “the peculiar and abhorrent behavior of … Larry Faso and of his potential to violently harm other residents of Stratford Commons.”

Faso had made complaints about Gail Shields to APT Management about her sunbathing in the complex’s courtyard and smoke from her grill, according to the lawsuit. But the apartment complex and management company failed to disclose their process for resolving complaints, the complaint says.

The complex also failed to enforce its own rules against Faso by neglecting to question him or inspect his apartment for firearms, according to the complaint.

The office of Richard Mehl, the court-appointed representative of Lawrence Faso’s estate, said Friday that Mehl cannot comment on pending litigation.

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