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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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Milton Stephens, Jr. Killed in Rockland Apartment Shooting (Macon Telegraph)

Rockland Apartment Shooting (Macon Telegraph)

40-year-old Macon resident, Milton Stephens, Jr., was fatally shot in his Rockland Apartment home Monday, August 18, 2014.

The Macon Telegraph reports, the body of Milton Stephens, Jr. was discovered by a friend just inside his ground floor apartment around 9:45am Monday morning. Mr. Stephens, who suffered from diabetes and was nearly blind, was apparently shot in the chest hours earlier.

Several neighbors in the Rockland Apartments community heard gunshots in the early pre-dawn hours, a sound that has become all too familiar to residents.

“I told my husband, ‘I’m so tired of hearing shooting around here,’” reported one neighbor.

Neighbor Shirley Sinclair told media, “It’s surprising it happened to him, but it’s not surprising someone got shot out here.”

Friends and family remember Mr. Stephens as a “fun-loving” man who would help anyone. “He was just the guy in the neighborhood who’s always sitting out…really nice, ” remembers James Benefield. The Macon community is now seeking answers and justice in his murder, calling his attacker a “coward” and demanding an end to the local violence.

Our Legal Take

As police continue to search for a suspect, The Murray Law Firm is questioning whether another party also holds responsibility in this tragedy, the owner and management of Rockland Apartments.

What efforts have been made to improve apartment complex security following the previous reports of gunshots in the community?

How did the gunman gain access to the property? What access-controls and crime deterrents, such as security gates and fencing, security and police patrols, ID card systems, surveillance cameras, motion detectors, and bright lighting, were in place and working at the time of the shooting?

Mr. Stephens was shot hours before his body was discovered. Where was apartment security during this critical time lapse?

What security measures, such as deadbolts, peep holes, alarms, and security latches, are in place to protect ground floor residents? 

Apartment owners are required by Georgia law to protect residents from foreseeable harm. Should an apartment complex owner and manager have knowledge of previous crime on or near property, they have a duty to take extraordinary security precautions to protect residents and deter future crime.

Should the owner and management of Rockland Apartments have failed in their duty to protect Milton Stephens, Jr., his family may elect to hold the complex civilly liable in his wrongful death. Claims of this magnitude, potentially in the millions of dollars, would demand Rockland Apartments and other Macon apartment complexes finally make resident safety their first priority. Such claims will also call on local officials and law enforcement to oversee and enforce safety in this community. Perhaps, through these legal claims, other lives may be spared.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims of 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 478.246.1010.

 

SAC EM Update

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Atlanta Street Apartments, Gainesville (WSBTV)

Atlanta Street Apartments, Gainesville (WSBTV)

Two women were shot and injured at the Atlanta Street Apartments in Gainesville Friday afternoon, August 15, 2015.

According to Access North GA News, Gainesville Police responded to a shooting outside the Atlanta Street Apartments around 3:00pm Friday. Officers arrived to find a large crowd outside an apartment where two woman had been shot. Police told media the victims were rushed to Northeast Georgia Medical Center with gunshot wounds to the upper torso. Their conditions are unknown.

Gainesville Police Corporal Kevin Holbrook reports, “Hall County Sheriff’s Office was able to locate a possible suspect.” That suspect is now in custody.

Our Legal Take

While relieved to learn a suspect is in custody, The Murray Law Firm is questioning whether a fatal apartment complex security lapse may have contributed to this incident.

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

Was the gunman a resident of Atlanta Street Apartments and, if not, how did the gunman gain access to the property? What security measures, such as a security patrol, access-controlled gate, ID card entry system, and surveillance cameras, were in place and working at the time of the shooting?

Georgia apartment owners are required by law to protect residents and guests legally on premises from foreseeable harm. Should an apartment owner have knowledge of previous violence on or near property, it is their duty to take extraordinary security measures to protect residents and deter future crime.

Should the owner and manager of the Atlanta Street Apartments be found at fault for failing to protect these two victims, they may elect to hold the apartment complex civilly liable for their injuries. Total claims may be in the millions of dollars and will, most importantly, demand this apartment complex finally make resident safety their first priority.

Photographs and a thorough inspection of the property will need to be performed on behalf of the victims immediately, before any evidence may be damaged, destroyed or repaired. The injured victims 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 has extensive experience in protecting victims of apartment violence and property owner negligence and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 404.842.1600. Consultations are free and confidential.

 

SAC EM Update