A wrongful death lawsuit against one of the state’s top private investigators and his firm charges they failed to inform the investigator’s minor son, his friend Ethan M. Song and Ethan’s parents that an “unsecured and/or improperly secured gun” with a bullet hidden inside was kept inside his rented Guilford home.
According to a 16-page civil complaint made public in New Haven Superior Court yesterday, Ethan Song,15, and the investigator’s son, “gained access to the loaded gun on the premises,” an act that led to Ethan’s fatal shooting inside the home on Jan. 31. The complaint is silent on who was holding the gun at the time of the shooting.
Kristin M. Song and Michael Song, Ethan’s parents, brought the lawsuit as co-administrators of Ethan’s estate. They were appointed co-administrators in Probate Court on March 5. Bridgeport attorney Bob Adelman, listed in The Best Lawyers in America, is representing the Song family. He is a member of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers and is a past president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association.
The complaint asserts that Daniel Markle and his company, Markle Investigators of North Haven, are both responsible for Ethan’s death, presumably because the gun, which was not properly stored, belonged to Markle and/or his firm, which he heads. Markle’s teenage son, Ethan’s friend, was not injured. Markle and his son lived in a rented house on Seaside Avenue in Guilford.
In addition, according to the complaint, on the date of Ethan’s death, both Markle and “the defendant, Markle Investigations, Inc., was in joint control of the premises.”
The lawsuit does not say how Song, 15, was shot but does say both Song and his Markle’s son “gained access to the loaded gun on the premises.” The Connecticut chief medical examiner is still conducting an investigation, according to the Hartford Courant. It has “yet to declare the death an accident, homicide or suicide, pending further investigation into the circumstances of the shooting.” So far no arrests have been made, the Courant said.
Both Markle and Markle Investigations, Inc., of North Haven, are named as defendants. Markle established his company in 1989. The complaint was formally dated March 27.
Negligent and Reckless Misconduct
Markle himself is accused of a variety of negligent acts, including not properly securing the gun, permitting minors onto his property when he was not present, and not warning his son about gun safety, including not to touch the guns stored or kept on the premises. Nor did Markle warn or inform visitors or the parents of minors that he stored or kept a loaded gun or guns on the premises.
The complaint says the company “unsafely stored and/or kept a loaded gun on the premises when it knew or should have known that a minor was likely to gain access to the gun without the permission of his parent.”
Besides negligence, the Songs say the death of their son Ethan “was caused by the wanton and reckless misconduct of defendant Daniel Markle” in storing the gun with a bullet inside in an unsecured place, and in allowing “his minor son access to a loaded gun in the presence of other minors.”