Fox 10 reported a shooting broke out at a Coolidge bar overnight, killing one person and injuring three others, police said. The shooting occurred at Gallopin' Goose located at 1980 S Arizona Blvd, Coolidge, AZ 85128.
At around 12:50 a.m. on August 20, 2023, Coolidge Police officers responded to a report of multiple people being shot and arrived to find the victims. Police say the shooting stemmed from a fight between two women inside the bar. The bar staff kicked the women out, but the fight continued in the parking lot. Friends and family of the women then became involved, and at some point, guns were drawn and shots were fired.
One of the victims, 32-year-old Phillip Rutledge, was pronounced dead at Florence Hospital. Three others were also shot, two in the feet and one in the arm and leg. All three are expected to survive.
The people involved in the fight have been identified by police, and the investigation is ongoing. Police say this was an isolated incident and there is no reason to believe the public is in danger.
The Coolidge Police Department is asking anyone with information about the shooting to come forward. Tips can be submitted anonymously by calling 480-835-3000 or by visiting the Coolidge Police Department website.
In the wake of the recent bar shooting in Coolidge, Arizona, families of victims are looking for ways to hold the responsible parties accountable. In some cases, that may mean filing a civil lawsuit against the bar owner. We sat down with Arizona gun violence attorney Kevin Biniazan to discuss the legal options available for victims of bar shootings and their surviving families in general.
Darla Medina: Mr. Biniazan, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. I wanted to get your insights on how bar shooting victims and families of victims can seek justice through civil lawsuits.
Kevin Biniazan: Of course. It's a tragedy whenever there is a bar shooting. The injured victims or families of the victims will likely be looking for ways to hold the responsible parties accountable. In some cases, that may mean filing a civil lawsuit against the bar owner.
Darla Medina: What are the legal grounds for a civil lawsuit against a bar owner in a shooting case?
Kevin Biniazan: There are a few different legal theories that could be used to sue a bar owner for a shooting. One is negligence. The bar owner could be found negligent if they failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the shooting, such as by hiring security guards, having security cameras, and to making sure that no one was carrying a gun into the bar.
Another legal theory is premises liability. This theory holds that the bar owner is responsible for injuries that occur on their property, even if they were not directly responsible for the accident. For example, if the bar owner knew that there was a history of violence at the bar and did nothing to address it, they could be found liable for a shooting that occurred.
Finally, the bar owner could also be held liable under dram shop law. This law holds that bars can be held liable for injuries caused by their patrons if they serve alcohol to someone who is visibly intoxicated.
Darla Medina: What are the chances of a family succeeding in a civil lawsuit against a bar owner?
Kevin Biniazan: It depends on the specific facts of the case. However, if the bar owner was negligent or violated dram shop law, the family of the victim has a good chance of succeeding in a civil lawsuit.
Darla Medina: What are the potential damages that a family could recover in a civil lawsuit?
Kevin Biniazan: The damages that a family could recover can vary depending on the specific facts of the case. However, they could include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and wrongful death damages.