Family of Amtrak Shooting Victim Awarded $158 Million in Landmark Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A federal jury has awarded $158 million in damages to the family of Richie Aaron, who was tragically shot and killed on an Amtrak train in Lee’s Summit back in 2022. The jury found both Amtrak and the convicted killer, Marquis Webb, liable for the incident. This substantial sum seeks to bring justice to Aaron’s grieving family.

On the night of January 14, 2022, Webb shot Aaron while they were aboard an Amtrak train at the Lee’s Summit train station. However, the train did not come to a halt until it reached Independence, where Aaron was pronounced dead. Disturbingly, court documents revealed that passengers had alerted train personnel about the gunshots and Aaron’s injuries, but the train continued on its journey to Independence, a journey that typically takes at least 16 minutes from the Lee’s Summit stop.

Immediately after the shooting, Webb, who had no prior connection to Aaron, fled on foot from the Lee’s Summit station. In a desperate attempt to escape, he hijacked a nearby car at gunpoint. Weeks later, on January 31, 2022, Webb was finally apprehended after a lengthy standoff with the Kansas City Police Department, during which he threatened officers with a gun.

Webb faced numerous charges in connection with Aaron’s murder, including second-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action, vehicle hijacking, and unlawful use of a weapon. He eventually pleaded guilty to the murder in September 2023.

In response to the tragedy, Aaron’s wife, Breayonna Aaron, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Amtrak in 2022 on behalf of her late husband and their three children. The lawsuit alleged negligence on Amtrak’s part, citing failures to promptly respond, provide adequate emergency aid, properly train employees in life-threatening situations, and implement sufficient security measures.

The jury attributed 90% of the damages, totaling over $142 million, to Amtrak, while holding Webb accountable for the remaining 10%. This verdict highlights the jury’s recognition of Amtrak’s substantial responsibility in this tragedy.

This award aims to provide some semblance of closure and financial support to the grieving family of Richie Aaron, who lost his life in such a devastating and preventable incident. The outcome of this case underscores the importance of holding both individuals and organizations accountable for their actions or lack thereof in preserving public safety.