The parents of a man who was killed and two others who were injured in a shooting in a North Fayette tavern last year filed lawsuits Wednesday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court against the defendant, his mother and the owners of the bar.
The complaints include wrongful death actions against David Mazzocco, who is serving a sentence of life without parole for first-degree murder, Gloria Mazzocco, who is serving two to six years in prison for allowing her son to have the guns he used, and Rylanco Inc., which operates as the Fort Pitt Inn in North Fayette.
According to investigators, David Mazzocco had a fight with his girlfriend that night and went to the bar. Early in the morning of March 11, 2013, he walked out to his truck in the parking lot, returned with several firearms and started shooting.
James Adams, 29, was killed. Joseph Quirk, 32, was blinded, and lost almost all of his hearing, as well as the ability to chew and eat. Gerald Maroni, 60, who helped subdue David Mazzocco after the shooting, was shot in the side of his face, shoulder and arm. Mr. Adams’ parents, Edward and Eleanor Adams, are listed as plaintiffs on their case.
According to the complaints, David Mazzocco took Xanax and was drinking excessively in the hours leading up to the early morning shooting, and he arrived at the Fort Pitt Inn in a “visibly intoxicated and agitated state.”
Still, they continued, he was served several drinks, including beer and shots of whiskey.
The lawsuits allege that even before the shootings, Mazzocco exhibited violent behavior at the bar — including breaking his cell phone and bloodying his hand — and showed the guns to others in the bar before opening fire, but no employee of the bar asked him to leave, and the police were not called.
Instead, the complaints say, the bartender allowed Mazzocco to use the bar’s phone about 12:35 a.m. to call his mother. He told her he wouldn’t be returning home that night, and eight minutes later, the lawsuit said, he went out to his truck, retrieved several guns and went back into the bar.
“Prior to David Mazzocco beginning to shoot, the bartender observed him with a gun and elected to run and hide in the restroom,” the complaint said.
“This case should bring home how much damage a gun can do when it’s in the wrong hands,” said Alan H. Perer, who represents Mr. Quirk. “It took maybe less than a minute to ruin three lives. We're hoping we can help repair at least some of the damage.”
David Mazzocco had twice previously been committed for mental health treatment, which, under the law, left him unable to possess firearms. His mother knew about the commitments but still allowed him to have access to her guns and keep his own gun in her home, the lawsuit said.
After her son was convicted, Gloria Mazzocco was found guilty during a non-jury trial before Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani of illegally transferring ownership of the guns. She is serving her sentence at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy.
The lawsuit also alleges that his mother allowed David Mazzocco to keep a gun vault and ammunition in her home, as well.
The owners of the Fort Pitt Inn could not be reached for comment.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org First Published August 20, 2014 11:32 AM