A Florida woman filed a lawsuit against the Navy Monday, alleging the service failed to spot risks before a sailor named Gawain Wilson fatally shot their infant children and her father in 2015.
Wilson also shot Megan Hiatt before turning the gun on himself in their Jacksonville home.
The lawsuit was filed by Megan Hiatt on behalf of her deceased children, and by Melissa Bateh on behalf of Hiatt’s murdered father, Travis Hiatt.
It alleges that Wilson had a prior history of violence — specifically a history of violence against women — before the Nov. 13, 2015, incident, and that the Navy was aware of his history.
Wilson was on duty in Jacksonville, Florida, that day when he became agitated during a phone call with Megan Hiatt, the lawsuit states.
Media reports state that Megan Hiatt was moving out of Wilson’s house that day, and that her father was helping her move.
The lawsuit alleges that another person on duty at the time heard the conversation, and that Wilson “got angry and made threatening and/or violent comments to Megan Hiatt.”
Wilson left abruptly, without authorization, in the middle of his workday, according to the lawsuit.
“The Defendant did nothing to stop, retain, or prevent Gawain Wilson from leaving its property, but instead allowed him to leave,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit contends the Navy also failed to notify law enforcement, among other preventative measures.
Wilson went directly from work to the house, according to the lawsuit.
“Megan Hiatt was holding her two children when they were killed,” the lawsuit states. “Megan Hiatt also was in close proximity to her father when he was killed and heard him being killed.”
Wilson shot Megan Hiatt in the head before turning the gun on himself, according to news reports.
The children’s names are redacted in a copy of the lawsuit filed in federal court.
The Navy denied an administrative claim for damages earlier this year, according to the lawsuit.
Wilson was an aviation machinist’s mate 2nd class at the time of the incident and was stationed with Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in Jacksonville, according to Navy records.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.