A woman who took cover last year while a gunman fired dozens of rounds inside the law firm where she was working as an office manager has sued the St. Tammany Parish sheriff and coroner as well as the family of the shooter, alleging their negligence contributed to the shooting.
Robin Dominique filed the lawsuit in 22nd Judicial District Court late last month, roughly a year after Roderick Rist went on a shooting spree at the office of Covington attorney Tim Upton, eventually unloading between 60 and 80 rounds from four different handguns before taking his own life, according to police.
Aside from the gunman, no one was injured.
Upton had represented Rist in a personal injury case that was settled in 2011, and Rist’s former wife told WWL-TV that Rist thought he had been cheated in the settlement.
Dominique was the only person working in the office at the time of the shooting — Upton and a paralegal were both out of the office — and she was able to hide and escape the office uninjured, police said.
The lawsuit alleges the Parish’s Office of Risk Management, the Sheriff’s Office and the Coroner’s Office failed to prevent Rist, who had been hospitalized for mental illness twice in the months leading up to the shooting, from obtaining access to guns and did not take steps to protect her.
Rist also had made threats against family members and neighbors that were reported to authorities, the lawsuit says.
Rist’s mother, Emily, also is named as a defendant in the suit, which claims she failed to report direct threats of violence to the appropriate authorities and failed to take steps that cold have prevented Rist from getting access to guns.
The lawsuit also names insurance companies for the sheriff, the coroner and Emily Rist as defendants.
The case has been assigned to Judge Reginald T. Badeaux III.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.