According to KVUE, chaos erupted at The 512 on Sixth bar as a gun accidentally discharged inside a patron's pocket, leaving four people injured. The incident, which occurred at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, 2023, sent shockwaves through the popular nightlife district.
The bar's general manager, Corey Phikus, confirmed that the alarming incident unfolded when an individual had a gun concealed in their jean pants pocket. The weapon accidentally went off within the club premises, triggering a series of events that resulted in injuries to four adults.
Thankfully, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services (ATCEMS) reported that the injuries sustained by the victims were minor and unlikely to be the direct result of a bullet impact. Nevertheless, one of the injured individuals was transported to a local hospital for medical attention, while the other declined medical assistance.
In response to the incident, Phikus expressed deep regret and stated, "The bullet hit the floor and some minor injuries occurred from the reaction. APD caught the guy and has him in custody," referring to the swift action taken by the Austin Police Department in apprehending the individual responsible for the firearm mishap.
The 512 on Sixth bar, a popular nightlife destination, boasts six security guards equipped with wands to conduct thorough searches of patrons upon entry. However, it was unfortunate that the individual managed to evade detection and bring the weapon inside.
Austin authorities have been especially vigilant about security measures on Sixth Street after a tragic shooting in 2021, which claimed one life and left 14 others injured. As part of the city's Safer Sixth Street initiative, the Austin-Travis County EMS established the Sixth Street Rescue Task Force, aimed at enhancing EMS response in case of emergencies within the area.
In the aftermath of the recent bar shooting, questions arise about the legal rights and options available to victims of bar shootings. To shed light on this critical matter, we sit down with Marc Lenahan, Esq., a Texas-based violent crimes lawyer experienced in gun violence cases. With his experience in advocating for victims' rights, Attorney Lenahan provides valuable insights into what bar shooting victims can do with a civil case against liable parties.
DM: Thank you for joining us, Mr. Lenahan. Can you help us understand what options are available to victims of bar shootings who seek justice and compensation for their injuries?
ML: Certainly, Darla. When individuals suffer injuries due to gun violence or any violent crimes in a bar or nightclub, they may have the right to pursue a civil case against the parties found liable for the incident. These cases generally fall under premises liability law, which holds property owners or operators responsible for maintaining a safe environment for their patrons.
DM: That's insightful, Mr. Lenahan. So, who could be held liable in such cases? Would it be solely the perpetrator, or could the bar management also face legal consequences?
ML: Many times, liability can extend beyond the perpetrator. While the individual responsible for the accidental discharge would face criminal charges, the bar's management could also be held liable if they were negligent in their duty to provide adequate security measures and prevent dangerous weapons from entering the premises.
DM: That's important information for our readers to know. Could you elaborate on what negligence might entail in this context?
ML: Of course. Negligence could involve various factors, such as insufficient security measures, lax bag checks, or inadequate training of staff to handle potential firearm-related incidents. If it can be proven that the bar failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their patrons, they could be held liable for the injuries that occurred as a result.
DM: I see. Now, if victims decide to pursue a civil case, what kind of compensation could they potentially seek?
ML: In civil cases, victims may seek compensation for a range of damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, and future medical costs if the injuries have long-term consequences. In extreme cases where the negligence is severe, punitive damages could also be awarded as a form of punishment to the liable parties.
DM: That's a crucial point to consider. Lastly, Mr. Lenahan, what advice would you offer to victims of bar shootings or similar incidents who are contemplating legal action?
ML: It's essential for victims and their families to seek legal counsel promptly. Gathering evidence and building a strong case is crucial, and an experienced attorney can guide them through the legal process, ensuring their rights are protected. Time is of the essence, as evidence may fade, and witness recollections may become less reliable over time.