Gas Station Attacks and Hotel Shootings On The Rise in Atlanta

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Within the last few months, the local news in the metropolitan Atlanta area has detailed some tragic stories about shootings at gas stations, hotels, and motels. Unfortunately, many businesses in high crime areas continue to fail to adequately protect their customers. This failure to secure their premises results in repeated, and predictable, attacks on those carrying on business at their service station or those spending time at their hotels or motels. As a lawyer who has handled apartment, gas station, and hotel shooting and attack cases, I have seen the best and worst with respect to the way business owners protect (or fail to protect) their property and customers. One of our success stories is detailed below.

My client left work after midnight and stopped by the Shell Station on Fulton Industrial Blvd. (4160 Fulton Industrial). He went in the store and purchased a Gatorade and then returned to his truck. As he got to his truck, he was approached by a man who put a gun to his chest and demanded his wallet. My client (Henry) gave up his wallet and then the assailant re-directed the gun at his chest. Fearing he would be shot, Henry attempted to push the gun away from his chest. The attacker fired a bullet through Henry’s hand and then fled. Fortunately, someone witnessed the shooting. Henry ran inside and pleaded with the gas station attendant (who was behind bullet proof glass) to call 911. The gas station attendant ignored him until the witness came in and told the attendant what happened. EMS was summoned and Henry was rushed to the hospital.

Henry had to undergo multiple surgeries to repair the damage done by the gunshot wound to his hand. He developed profound Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of being shot and treated with a psychiatrist for quite some time.

I sent a pre-suit demand to the management company of the gas station and their insurer offered $50,000 to settle the case. Of course, we rejected that offer. I put the case in suit and began discovery. During discovery, I uncovered an absolutely shocking number of prior crimes at this location. Many robberies, muggings, shootings of patrons, cocaine busts, etc. I also learned that the station has absolutely no security (ever), the only cameras are inside the building and they monitor the cash register and gambling machines.

During depositions, the gas station owners / employees denied knowledge of prior criminal activity, until they were actually confronted with newspaper articles where they were quoted saying how dangerous the place had become. Also, two of the gas station employees were attacked themselves. I asked the gas station owner on deposition why he didn’t close the store during the after-midnight hours, when most of the muggings and shootings were occurring. He said he couldn’t do that because “everyone who hangs around the store would break in.”

My client’s medical bills and lost wages totaled around $100,000. We were able to settle the case for near seven figures as a result of our investigation into the gas station. Soon after our case settled, we learned that someone was else shot in the head at the same gas station. It appears that this gas station continues to allow criminals open access to their customers.

Only after business are made to see (through their wallets) that they need to take reasonable steps to protect their customers, does it seem that any real change will come.

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