Pregnant Instructor Sues Pa. Gym Gunman’s Estate
PITTSBURGH (AP) – A pregnant aerobics instructor who was wounded in a health club shooting in August sued the estate of the gunman Monday, saying related stress has put her in danger of a miscarriage.
Mary Beth Primis was 10 weeks pregnant when she was leading the aerobics class at an L.A. Fitness Health club in Collier Township on Aug. 4. George Sodini fired at least 52 shots from three weapons, wounding Primis in both shoulders, and hitting 11 other women, three of whom died, before fatally shooting himself.
Primis, 26, was wounded in both shoulders and hospitalized for more than a week. Her fetus survived, though her attorneys claim she suffered “stress and harm while pregnant’’ and remains in danger of miscarriage as a result. Danielle Elderkin, a spokeswoman for the attorneys, said Primis is due to give birth in March.
“One can’t even begin to imagine the emotional and physical strain this has put on Ms. Primis,’’ attorney George Kontos said. “The horror of that tragic day will remain with her for a lifetime. Filing this lawsuit is just one step as she continues through her healing process.’’
Primis and her husband, Alex, of Moon Township, are seeking at least $175,000 in damages from the estate of the 48-year-old Sodini, of Scott Township. Sodini willed $225,000 to his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh, which refused the gift. At least two other victims have filed papers saying they intend to sue Sodini’s estate but have yet to file complaints.
The estate’s attorney, Rebecca Bowman, said she has not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on it even if she had.
At least five other people have filed notices that they intend to sue the estate, Bowman said.
According to a Web diary that surfaced after the shootings, Sodini seethed with anger and frustration toward women, claiming he hadn’t had a girlfriend since 1984 and hadn’t slept with a woman in 19 years.
“Women just don’t like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the US (my estimate) and I cannot find one. Not one of them finds me attractive,’’ he lamented.
The diary included references to an “exit plan’’ at his health club, where many young women worked out.
Killed were Jody Billingsley, 37, of Mount Lebanon; Heidi Overmier, 46, of Carnegie; and Elizabeth Gannon, 49, of Green Tree.