- January 27, 2021
- Attorney Matt Stoddard
- Negligent Security
A BP customer was hospitalized with several broken bones and a collapsed lung after an altercation outside a DeKalb County gas station on January 5th, near the corner of South Hairston Rd and Redan Rd.
As the survivor describes the attack, he was approached by a young man who offered to sell him marijuana. After he declined, the man signaled to several others with gang signs, and more arrived in a black SUV. One of the men grabbed the survivor and slammed his head repeatedly against the wall of the gas station, then pulled out a gun and pointed it at his chest. The survivor pushed the gun to the side and was shot in the shoulder. He believes the motive was robbery.
Landowners Have a Duty to Protect Guests from Foreseeable Dangers, Including Violence
Police are currently working to identify the assailants, but in the meantime, it’s important not to ignore the other parties who may have contributed to this man’s injuries. Landlords and business owners, including those who control this BP gas station, are legally responsible for providing a safe environment for their guests.
While there are exceptions for the random, unpredictable acts of third parties, once it becomes clear that a certain type of violent crime is prone to happen on or around a given property, the owner becomes responsible for providing adequate security to prevent it.
Most landowners like to present themselves as helpless to control the criminal actions of others, but studies show that a landlord’s level of complicity with local crime actually has a huge influence over the recurrence of crime on their property and even in the surrounding area. If BP has made gangs in the DeKalb area feel safe committing crime on their property, then BP shares liability for those crimes.
The Area’s History Makes This Crime Foreseeable
The BP station where the shooting occurred is located in the city of Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain is one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S in terms of crime in general, and has a particular history of gas station shootings. In February of 2020, a man was fatally shot at a Citgo gas station less than four miles away on Hairston Rd. No suspect was ever apprehended. That would be reason enough for other gas stations in the area to concern themselves with protecting customers from gun violence, but the reasons don’t end there.
Putting aside the crime rate of the surrounding area, the same BP gas station where the January 5th shooting occurred even has its own history of gun violence. In September of 2019, another shooting on the property left another customer in critical condition.
Companies know exactly what they are doing when they choose not to address recurring criminal activity on their properties. They are deciding that the profit they gain from doing business with criminals or saving on security upgrades is worth more than their customers’ lives. By holding such companies financially responsible in civil court, survivors and family members can help take away that profit incentive.
If you were the survivor of the January 5th BP gas station shooting, or another one like it, The Stoddard Firm can help.