The 19-year-old brother of a Sandy Hook school shooting victim and outspoken advocate for greater school safety measures says he’s running for the Connecticut Senate.
Republican J.T. Lewis of Newtown announced plans to challenge Republican Sen. Tony Hwang of Fairfield. The next legislative election is in 2020.
Hwang has served in the Senate since 2015 and previously in the House of Representatives.
Lewis recently finished his freshman year at the University of Connecticut and says he’s running for office to honor his late brother, Jesse Lewis, one of the 20 first-graders killed in 2012.
In his statement to the media, Lewis accuses political leaders of falling short of stopping the violence his family experienced. Lewis participated in a 2018 discussion on school security with President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, a Connecticut state appeals court has rejected an appeal by the Kesis family and parents of another of the shooting victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre to hold the town of Newtown and its school district liable.
While calling the case “undeniably tragic,” the appeals court ruled 3-0 on Friday against the parents of Jesse Lewis and Noah Pozner, and agreed with a lower court judge that governmental immunity shielded the defendants.
“It is clear that the adoption of the school security guidelines by the defendants was an act of discretion encompassed within their general duty to manage and supervise their employees and the schoolchildren, and, therefore, was protected by governmental immunity,” Judge Thomas Bishop wrote.
The parents had accused school officials of failing to follow mandatory security guidelines that could have saved lives after Adam Lanza shot his way into the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
They said these guidelines included the ordering of an immediate lockdown, having doors that could be locked from the inside to keep Lanza away, and ensuring adequate training for faculty and staff.
Donald Papcsy, a lawyer for the parents, said his clients plan to appeal the ruling before the Connecticut Supreme Court.
He said an eventual return to the trial court would provide these “heroic families” a chance to be heard and “keep future kids safer in the process.”
The parents are seeking damages from the defendants.
Lanza killed 20 children and six adults at the school after shooting his mother to death at home. The massacre ended when he committed suicide as he heard police sirens approach.