On the afternoon of July 19th, in one of the recreational common areas of Foxwood Apartments in Doraville, 17-year-old Gerardo Cabrera-Perez was shot multiple times in the head, abdomen, and leg. He was then taken to a local hospital, where he died of his injuries. A 19-year-old suspect, Carlos Bernal, is now charged with his murder.
As usual, in the midst of the grief over Cabrera-Perez’s loss, and the confusion over Bernal’s motives, few people are talking about what Foxwood Apartments could have done to keep its complex safer.
Gun Violence in Doraville Is Not Uncommon
This is not a case of a shocking anomaly in a normally peaceful neighborhood. The city of Doraville is less than seven miles across, but its residents have already suffered through several gun violence incidents this year alone. On February 8th, one man shot another in a road rage altercation in front of Doraville’s Metro Green Recycling center.
Two weeks later, a woman was found shot dead in front of a Doraville apartment complex, lying between two cars. Her alleged attacker was apprehended a few days later while renewing his sex offender registration. He was on the registry for sexual battery of a minor.
Four months after that, just outside of Doraville in neighboring Tucker, a man was waiting for his order outside a Waffle House when an unidentified assailant pulled up beside him and shot him to death.
This year also saw the conviction of a pair of conspirators who conducted a series of armed robberies in Doraville and surrounding areas back in 2017, largely targeting Asian-owned small businesses. One of the robbers reportedly shot three women during the course of his activities and pistol-whipped several other victims.
The Foxwood Shooter Raised Red Flags in Advance
While Cabrera-Perez’s friends have been wary of commenting on what happened, one reported to Telemundo Atlanta that the suspect had come to the complex three days before the shooting, carrying a gun and showing it off. He described the encounter as “muy raro” (“very strange”). Authorities also noted that the suspect lived only half a mile away from Foxwood Apartments.
Aside from the general crime level of the area, a neighbor coming onto the property and behaving oddly while brandishing a weapon should have been a noteworthy warning sign of potential violence to come.
Landlords Have a Responsibility to Maintain Safe Premises
Just as landlords must fix broken steps to prevent tripping accidents, maintain the wiring to prevent fires, and patch leaks to prevent water damage and mold, they’re also responsible for protecting tenants from other foreseeable dangers, including crime. If the owners of Foxwood Apartments had invested in gates, cameras, and security personnel, there’s a chance Cabrera-Perez would still be alive. Given all the signs, both in the area and relating to this specific incident, those owners might well be liable for his death.
If you’ve been injured or lost someone because of violent crime in an inadequately secured apartment complex, call The Stoddard Firm to learn more about how we can help.