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Local News

The Supper Club/Club Andre Shooting (Chuck Williams/Ledger-Enquirer)

(Chuck Williams/Ledger-Enquirer)

47-year-old Bobby Ray Stewart, also known as Columbus rapper, HiWay, was shot and killed inside The Supper Club Saturday night, August 23, 2014.

According to the Ledger-Enquirer, Mr. Stewart was shot multiple times while inside The Supper Club on Buena Vista Road in Columbus, just after 11:30pm Saturday evening. He was transported to Midtown Medical Center where he perished from injuries at 12:17am Sunday morning.

Mr. Stewart was a member of COLuminati, a Columbus hip-hop organization for artists dedicated to creating positive music about peace, non-violence and encouragement. The Columbus community is now in mourning and seeking answers following the tragic death of Mr. Stewart, who fought to end such violence through his music.

Neighborhood resident Deborah Hendricks told media, “There is just too much violence around here and it is getting worse….It’s just not safe anymore.”

Indeed, the shooting marks the seventh Columbus homicide in August and comes less than a year after city officials promised to crackdown on nightclub crime. Unfortunately, the violence has persisted. A 21-year-old soldier was shot and injured at Carousel Lounge in June. Now, the death of Mr. Stewart, an advocate for peace, has many calling for justice and change.

Our Legal Take

The Murray Law Firm is following the horrific shooting closely and questions whether a fatal nightclub security lapse may have contributed to this tragedy.

What security measures, such as visible security guards, surveillance cameras, metal detectors, and bag checks, were implemented by The Supper Club owner and management to deter violence and protect patrons following the previous incidents of nightclub violence?

A sign over the nightclub door reads, “No Weapons Allowed” and threatens prosecution. Is this rule enforced by, nightclub security, metal detectors and bag inspections and, if so, how did these screening measures fail?

By law, Georgia nightclub owners have a duty to protect all patrons legally on their premises from any foreseeable harm. Should a nightclub owner have knowledge of previous violence on or near property, they have a duty to take extraordinary security measures to prevent against future crime. Should they fail in this duty, they may be held civilly liable for any injuries or deaths that occur as a consequence.

Given the history of nightclub violence in the Columbus area, the family of Bobby Ray Stewart may elect to hold the owner and management of The Supper Club/Club Andre’s civilly liable in his wrongful death. Of course, legal proceedings are of little concern to a grieving family. However, claims of this magnitude, potentially in the millions of dollars, will send a gravely-needed message to all Columbus nightclub owners and demand these owners finally make patron safety their first priority. Through these claims, perhaps many other young lives may be spared.

Photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene and surveillance footage will need to be performed on the family’s behalf before any evidence is repaired, damaged or destroyed. The Stewart family should retain an experienced premises liability firm without delay to ensure all evidence is properly preserved and their best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims of nightclub violence and negligence and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 706.494.2800. Consultations are free and confidential.

 

SAC EM Update

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UPDATE: Norcross police have made an arrest in the fatal shooting of Afolabi Odifa. Mr. Odifa was killed on August 15, 2014, while driving his taxi. The newlywed husband and father of a 9-month-old son left for a call around 10:0pm Friday evening. He was later found inside his cab at the Spring Lake Apartments complex. The suspected gunman was captured and has been charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm. Additional charges are pending. He is currently in Gwinnett County jail without bond.

While The Murray Law Firm is relieved a suspect has been captured, we believe another party may also hold responsibility in this tragedy. See original article below for more information.

Local News

Afolabi Odifa Shooting Norcross

Afolabi and Toyin Odifa (WSBTV)

36-year-old Afolabi Odifa was shot and killed while parked in his taxi cab in the Spring Lake Apartments parking lot Friday evening, August 15, 2014.

Mr. Odifa’s wife, Toyin, moved to the U.S. from Nigeria with their 9-month-old son only six months prior. Mrs. Odifa told media her husband left for a call, three miles from their home, around 10:00pm Friday evening. He never returned.

According to Fox Atlanta News, Mr. Odifa was discovered slumped over the steering wheel of his taxi cab, which was parked and running in the Spring Lake apartment complex parking lot, just off Chase Common Drive in Norcross. Residents noticed the parked taxi running with lights on for an unusual length of time and went to check on the driver. Mr. Odifa had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the back of his head.

Police are investigating “whether [Mr. Odifa] was shot during a robbery or if the call for a cab was legitimate or a possible setup.” The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now assisting with the investigation.

Our Legal Take

Afolabi Odifa Killed Possible Robbery (WSBTV)

Afolabi Odifa Killed in Apartment Shooting, Possible Robbery (WSBTV)

The tragic death of Mr. Odifa illuminates the dangers taxi drivers face on a daily basis and raises concerns over how to deter such violence and improve security measures for drivers. Armed robberies are becoming far too frequent across Georgia, particularly at apartment complexes.

What security measures, such as driver controlled locks, bullet proof passenger dividers and an open vehicle-to-station communication system, were available to Mr. Odifa inside his vehicle? What screening process is used by the ATL Taxi company to log and verify customer calls? How has the cab company worked to improve driver safety following previous assaults on drivers throughout the state?

What apartment parking lot security measures, such as surveillance cameras, bright lighting, access-controlled gates, and security patrols, were in place at the time of the shooting?

As Mr. Odifa was working at the time of his death, his family is almost certainly entitled to substantial compensation and benefits per Georgia workers compensation laws. Additional claims may also be filed against the apartment complex owner and management, should a lack of security measures have contributed to this tragedy.

Claims of this magnitude, potentially in the millions of dollars, will serve as a gravely-needed reminder to all Georgia taxi companies on the need to implement proper security measures inside their vehicles and to record and verify all calls. Perhaps, through the implementation of proper locks, bullet proof dividers and communication equipment, many other lives may be spared. These claims will also serve to demand apartment complex owners to do their part in protecting drivers legally on their premises. By, implementing proper access-controls, parking lot lighting, surveillance cameras, and security patrols on property grounds, future tragedies may be avoided.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience in protecting victims and families devastated by apartment complex violence as well as workers compensation claims. We offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 404.842.1600 or toll free at 888.842.1616.

SAC EM Update

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Local News

46-year-old Eric Alexander Reese was fatally shot outside the Park Place Apartments in Statesboro Friday night, August 15, 2014.

According to the Statesboro Herald, police were called to the Park Place apartments following the fatal shooting of Eric Reese, which occurred around 8:30pm Friday evening. Seven teenagers, ages 16-17-years-old, have been taken into custody in connection with the shooting.  Charges include murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. However, few other details have been released.

The Reese family is now speaking out, in search of answers and justice. They believe Mr. Reese was an innocent bystander, caught in the cross fire between feuding teenagers. Tragically, Mr. Reese suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest and perished outside his Park Place apartment home.

Family members are now celebrating his life as they mourn his passing.

Nephew Courtney Reese describes his uncle as a “hard working family man” and father of four. “He was very kind and got along with everybody. He was the brightest spot in the family.”

Our Legal Take

The Murray Law Firm is following the shooting closely and questions whether a fatal apartment complex security lapse may have contributed to this tragedy.

How did the gunman and feuding crowd gain access to the property? What access-controls, such as a security gate, ID card entry system and security patrol, were in place and working at the time of the shooting?

Where was apartment security and management at the time the dispute first began? What attempts were made to deescalate the situation prior to the shooting? Were police called to the scene at the start of the dispute?

Have there been previous incidents of violence on or near property and, if so, what security measures were implemented to deter future crime on property?

Should the owner and management of Park Place Apartments have failed in their duty to protect Mr. Reese, his family may elect to hold them civilly liable in his wrongful death. Claims of this magnitude, potentially in the millions of dollars, will demand Park Place and other local apartment complexes finally make resident safety their first priority.

Photographs and a thorough inspection will need to be performed immediately before any evidence, such as surveillance footage, may be damaged or destroyed. The Reese family should retain an experienced premises liability firm without delay to ensure all evidence is preserved and their best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims and families devastated by apartment violence and property negligence. We offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 912.385.9690.