- July 24, 2023
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Wrongful Death
Violent crime can sometimes feel like an unstoppable force that no one, not even the richest companies, can do anything about.
In reality, the way even a single business is run can make a huge impact on local crime rates. Simple changes like good lighting, cameras, and security guard presence can greatly reduce the risk of violence on or near the property.
Of course, not every business needs a full-time guard, and some need more than one. Exactly what security a business should provide depends on established patterns of crime.
For example, after the racially motivated shootings at multiple gas stations in Jonesboro in 2021, and the general rise in hate crimes in the area, it would have made sense for all gas stations nearby to put extra focus security.
Unfortunately, many gas station companies would prefer not to make that investment.
Though it may be a small comfort to families affected by gun violence, companies that knowingly harbor crime or skimp on needed security are legally responsible for the consequences.
A School Bus Driver Has Been Fatally Shot at a BP Gas Just West of Jonesboro
Camesha Johnson had just finished dropping off a group of kids for summer school on June 29th, 2023, when she pulled into the BP at Highway 85 and Thomas Road for her usual break. At some point while she was there, someone shot her in the left shoulder through her car window. The bullet punctured her heart, killing her. She was 36 years old.
Johnson’s parents say that she usually parked behind the station, but her vehicle was found in front of it, with its front wheels hanging over the curb, as if she had tried to drive away from the attack.
The BP’s security cameras reportedly captured the car jumping the curb at around 10pm, but apparently, no employee noticed the altercation as it was happening. By the time a bystander noticed the car and called the police, Johnson had been dead for over an hour.
So far, police have not identified any suspects. The family says they can’t imagine anyone wanting to hurt Johnson, and that nothing was stolen from her car, though Johnson’s mother had previously expressed concern about how dangerous the BP property could be.
Regardless of who killed Johnson or why, it certainly seems possible that BP did not provide appropriate security for the location.
Families of Shooting Victims Can Often Sue Companies Like BP for Wrongful Death
Holding companies that enable violence accountable in civil court can help give families the resources they need to rebuild, and financially motivate companies to protect others in the future.
To successfully sue a company like BP on the basis of negligent security, the plaintiff and their lawyer need to prove:
- That the company should have known its guests were in danger of violence.
- That there were reasonable steps the company could have taken to reduce this danger.
- That the company failed to take these steps.
- That the victim was harmed as a result.
When the victim is deceased and cannot sue for themselves, a specific family member can sue for wrongful death. If the victim is married, that right falls to the surviving spouse. So, for Camesha Johnson, it would be her husband, Charles, who could now sue BP for failing to protect her.