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Mother of Murdered 10-Year-old Sues California Department of Justice Over Botched Background Check
The Killer – the Boy’s Own Father – Was Allowed to Buy Gun Used in Murder, Even Though He Was Lawfully Prohibited from Buying Firearms
San Francisco/Hanford, CA, October 18th, 2022- The mother of a 10-year-old boy killed by his own father filed a lawsuit (link to filing) today in the San Francisco County Superior Court against the California Department of Justice. The suit seeks to force the Department to comply with the California Public Records Act and disclose the records of a botched background check that allowed the boy’s killer access to a firearm, even though he had been legally prohibited by a state court from possessing firearms.
The petitioner, Christy Camara Gomes, represented by attorney Joseph M. Alioto Jr., filed the petition in response to the California Department of Justice’s refusal to disclose records that would reveal how Christy’s ex-husband, Victor Gomes, was able to obtain the murder weapon from a state-licensed firearms dealer while he was under an order of the Superior Court of Kings County not to possess firearms.
“The State of California has now failed Wyland twice: first by neglecting to prevent a prohibited person from buying the gun he used to kill Wyland; and now again by refusing to disclose records that will reveal the State’s failure,” Alioto said.
Gomes used the firearm to shoot and kill Wyland on March 2, 2020. Gomes then shot and killed himself. On October 24, 2016, the Superior Court of Kings County ordered Gomes not to possess a firearm when he threatened to kill his son and himself after receiving divorce papers from Christy Camara Gomes. The firearm prohibition was extended to September 9, 2017. Gomes bought the gun used in the murder on May 17, 2017. In August 2021, Christy Camara Gomes requested records from various agencies, including the Justice Department, to determine how Gomes was able to buy a gun while under a court order not to possess firearms. The Department of Justice refused to disclose the records.
“No other parent should go through the pain I feel daily. My hope with this petition is that I’ll finally have answers and can work with the State to pass ‘Wyland’s Law’ – a law that will save the lives of other children. I want Wyland’s life to be a legacy–one that uncovers the truth and fixes the issues so that we can prevent this tragedy from happening to another family,” Camara Gomes said.
About Wyland Thomas Gomes and Christy Camara Gomes
Wyland Thomas Gomes was born in 2009 and was the firstborn grandchild in his family. He attended Kings River-Hardwick School and was loved deeply by his friends and teachers. He loved playing video games, hanging out with friends, and spending time with his family who loved him.
Christy Camara Gomes is Wyland’s mom. She grew up in Hanford, California but now calls the Central Coast her home. She is currently in the process of writing a book about Wyland’s life and believes that sharing her story will help bereaved parents normalize how they are feeling. Her website and blog can be found here.
About Joseph M. Alioto, Jr.
Joseph Alioto Jr. is a seasoned trial lawyer and former Assistant U.S. Attorney with over two decades of experience advocating for consumers, crime victims, small businesses, and individuals in California. His interest in fighting firearm violence stems from his work prosecuting violent organized crime for the U.S. Department of Justice in San Francisco and Oakland. Learn more at www.aliotolegal.com/about.
This press release was originally shared on PR Newswire.