The family of Bruce J. Tiemens, 11, who was shot and killed by a 10-year-old playmate in Annandale last November, has filed a $4 million damage suit against the boy and his family.
The suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court, alleges that Frederick and Judith Anderson, the Tiemens' neighbors, left a pistol "in a location that was easily accessible" to their 10-year-old son.
Frederick Anderson said he had no knowledge of the suit. "I'm shocked," he said, and refused to comment further.
On Nov. 21, the 10-year-old boy managed to remove his father's Colt .45 from a locked drawer and took it to the Tiemens' house. While he was playing with it, it fired, killing Bruce Tiemens.
The shooting was ruled accidental and no charges were filed.
Myron Tiemens, the dead boy's father, said he hopes the lawsuit will prompt insurance companies to raise premiums for people who keep handguns, or exempt handguns from coverage in homeowners' policies. "We're only suing because of the way the insurance laws are set up in the state," he said, adding that the suit is part of his family's fight to "win the battle of indiscriminate possession of handguns."
Under Virginia law, a family can bring a civil suit for the "wrongful death" of a relative if it can prove the death was caused by someone's negligence, said the Tiemens' lawyer, Robert J. Segan.