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Tampa subcontractor blamed for death by expired 30-year-old grenades

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The widow of an ex-soldier who was killed last year while testing 30-year-old grenades is suing all parties responsible for his death.

Ziecha Norwillo, wife of Francis Norwillo, and Michael Dougherty are suing Purple Shovel, SkyBridge Tactical, SkyBridge Resources, Regulus Global LLC and Regulus Global Inc. after the accident that took Norwillo’s husband and injured Dougherty.

According to BayLawsuits, logistics and construction company Purple Shovel was contracted by the government for training, equipment and obtaining arms. The company subcontracted Tampa-based SkyBridge to handle parts of the contract.

On June 6, 2015, Ziecha Norwillo was in Bulgaria where he was testing rocket-propelled grenades. Dougherty was recording the test on his phone when one exploded without warning, killing Norwillo and injuring Dougherty.

All defending parties helped in acquiring the weapons. The companies were aware of the age of the grenades when they sent the two men to test them. The shelf life of the grenades had expired due to degraded and defective parts.

Because of their expiration, the U.S. government would not allow troops to use the grenades. They were labeled as “defective, unstable and dangerous,” in the suit.

Even with this knowledge, the defendants allowed the two men to test the weapons.

Between the two parties, the companies are accused of 15 counts, including wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.

The suit was filed Oct. 26, 2016.

After the passing of her husband, Norwillo claims all the companies lied, covered up and misrepresented the facts of his death, causing Norwillo’s distress to become worse than it already was.

The two parties are suing for damages that include loss of income, emotional distress, medical bills, court and attorney’s fees, and funeral costs.

Norwillo’s boss at SkyBridge refused to comment on the accident when questioned by BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed claims SkyBridge Tactical president Stephen Rumbley said: “If you hadn’t talked to the family to upset them I would talk to you.”

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