Lawsuit Filed Over Jacksonville Mass Shooting

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

The Jacksonville shooting wasn’t one with the highest death toll or anything, but the blatantly and openly racist motivations of the shooter was more than enough to rattle a lot of people.


After all, as bad as mass shootings are, these racially-motivated attacks just seem to hit on a different level.

And the fact that it happened at a Dollar General is still a little surprising, mostly because I’ve never been in one that had all that many people in it at a given time.

Still, it happened. Now, the victims of that deadly shooting are filing a lawsuit.

The families of shooting victims have filed a lawsuit against Dollar General after a racially motivated attack in Jacksonville, Fla., left three shoppers dead this summer.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump and co-counsel Michael Haggard filed the lawsuit against the bargain store and the parents of the shooter on behalf of the families of the victims.

The lawsuit argues that Dollar General was negligent in their security measures, allowing [the killer] to easily enter the store and open fire.

The lawsuit argues that [the killer] was deterred at the Family Dollar by the presence of a uniformed security guard, so he then drove to Edward Waters University, a historically Black university. He was once again deterred by security personnel at the campus — so he then drove to the Dollar General, where he opened fire.

“A criminal’s safe haven, this Dollar General was devoid of meaningful security measures,” the lawsuit says. “While [the killer] was deterred from harming the public at his two preceding stops, at this Dollar General, there was nothing in place to again deter [him] from attacking and killing innocent persons.”


Now, in all honesty, I get where they’re coming from. And I get that Family Dollar and Dollar General are the same type of store. So, it stands to reason that if one store has an armed security guard, there’s little reason for another.

Yet that security guard isn’t really there to prevent mass shootings. They’re there to prevent theft. I’m not sure a court is going to rule that the presence of a guard at one store is evidence that another store should have anticipated something this horrific.

There is a situation where I think this changes, though. That’s if the store in question has made itself a gun-free zone in accordance with applicable state laws. In my book, if you’re denying me the ability to defend myself, you have taken on the responsibility to protect my life. If you have that sign on your door and don’t have armed security when something like this happens, then I feel you’ve assumed liability for that.

But that’s just me. I don’t think any court has seen it that way. Further, it doesn’t look like the Jacksonville store was a gun-free zone, either. I know, kind of surprising.


It seems to me that if they haven’t, though, that means this particular lawsuit doesn’t have any legs. After all, there really isn’t an onus on any business to protect its customers if it hasn’t turned itself into a gun-free zone, particularly from something like this.

Still, the fact that they’re not trying to sue the gun manufacturer has to be a bit of a win, doesn’t it?


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