Twenty-year-old Robert Jourdain had been drinking for hours before he walked into a Walmart store early on the morning of July 5 and bought a box of .38-caliber ammunition, court papers say.

Shortly before 3 a.m., Jourdain left the Northampton Crossings shopping center in Lower Nazareth Township and got into the white Mercedes Benz sport utility vehicle where Todd West was waiting with a Smith & Wesson revolver. Within an hour, West allegedly used the bullets to kill three people in a random shooting spree on the streets of Easton and Allentown.

The victims’ families have filed a lawsuit against Walmart that one expert says could succeed despite federal protections for gun and ammo dealers. The families claim that Walmart and its employees were negligent in selling the ammunition to Jourdain because they should have known he was too young to buy it legally and was mentally impaired by alcohol.

“The bottom line here is that Walmart sold .38-caliber handgun ammunition to an underage person in the middle of the night, and that ammunition was used to kill several people,” said Philadelphia attorney Matt Casey, who filed the suit last week.

“Ultimately, a jury will decide whether that sale was consummated in a way that breached Walmart’s duty to the victims,” Casey said.

Killed in the rampage were Kory Ketrow, 22, of Easton, who was shot twice just steps from his Lehigh Street home; and Francine Ramos, 32, and Trevor Gray, 21, both of Allentown, who were attacked as they sat in Ramos’ car at Sixth and Greenleaf streets.

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