According to NBC Miami, a shocking incident unfolded Wednesday afternoon, July 19, 2023; multiple suspects were arrested following a shooting inside a Walmart that left one man dead and another injured. The violent incident sparked panic among shoppers, resulting in additional injuries as people desperately fled from the gunfire. Miami-Dade Police have provided details about the tragic event at 33501 S Dixie Hwy, Florida City, FL 33034.
The incident occurred at approximately 3 p.m. local time at the Walmart. Miami-Dade Police confirmed that two men were shot during the altercation. Tragically, the 23-year-old victim succumbed to his injuries, while the other man is expected to survive.
Cellphone footage captured the chaotic aftermath as individuals within the store rushed to aid one of the victims who lay motionless on the floor. Witnesses reported hearing six gunshots, triggering a frantic exodus from the store.
"I heard six shots, pow-pow-pow, and then everybody was running away," recounted one shopper. "It was just a madhouse in there. Everybody just started running out all the exits. Everybody just scattered," added Daniel Singleton, another witness at the scene.
According to law enforcement officials, the incident began as an altercation between two groups, each consisting of three individuals. During the confrontation, one person drew a firearm and opened fire. One victim was involved in the altercation, while the second victim, an innocent bystander, was struck by a stray bullet.
Law enforcement officers swiftly responded to the scene, apprehending one of the six individuals involved in the altercation. However, four other suspects fled the store, prompting an intensive search effort.
Dramatic footage from the scene showcases a significant police presence, with multiple officers surrounding the Walmart, their weapons drawn. Additionally, the video captured a handcuffed individual being placed in the back of a Florida City Police car. According to an arrest report, authorities have apprehended three individuals in connection with the Walmart shooting. Among them is Steve Lestin, 25, who has been charged with second-degree murder and attempted felony murder, as indicated by records from the Miami-Dade jail. Additionally, Roberto Dionandre Acevedo, 20, and Jimari Castin Hodge, 21, have been arrested and charged with battery.
In the wake of the recent shooting at a Florida City Walmart, we delve into the legal avenues available for victims of gun violence. Today, we are privileged to have a conversation with renowned gun violence attorney and local Florida-based personal injury lawyer, Michael Haggard, Esq. Join us as we discuss how victims can seek justice through civil lawsuits against negligent property owners.
Darla Medina: Mr. Haggard, thank you for joining us. In light of the recent shooting at the Florida City Walmart, can you shed some light on how victims of gun violence, in general, can seek justice through civil lawsuits against negligent property owners?
Michael Haggard: Thank you for having me, Darla. It's unfortunate that we need to have these discussions, but it's important to understand the legal options available for victims of gun violence. In cases like the Walmart shooting, victims and their families may have grounds to pursue civil lawsuits against negligent property owners.
Darla Medina: Could you explain the concept of negligent property owners in the context of gun violence incidents?
Michael Haggard: Certainly. Negligent property owners can be held responsible if they fail to provide adequate security measures to protect their patrons or fail to address known risks of violence on their premises. When it comes to gun violence, property owners have a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of visitors and customers.
Darla Medina: How can victims determine if a property owner is legally liable for the injuries sustained during a gun violence incident?
Michael Haggard: Proving liability in these cases requires a thorough investigation. We examine various factors, such as the history of violent incidents on the property, the adequacy of security measures in place, and whether the property owner was aware or should have been aware of the potential risks. It's important to establish that the property owner's negligence or failure to act contributed to the harm suffered by the victims.
Darla Medina: What types of compensation can victims potentially receive through civil lawsuits against negligent property owners?
Michael Haggard: Victims may be entitled to compensation for a range of damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and emotional distress. In cases involving fatal injuries, the surviving family members may also be eligible for wrongful death compensation, which can include funeral expenses and loss of financial support.
Darla Medina: Are there any challenges victims may face when pursuing civil lawsuits in gun violence cases?
Michael Haggard: Absolutely. These cases can be complex and challenging, requiring extensive investigation and legal expertise. Additionally, laws regarding premises liability and gun violence may vary from state to state. It's crucial for victims to seek experienced legal representation to navigate these complexities and build a strong case.
Darla Medina: Thank you, Mr. Haggard, for sharing your insights on seeking justice through civil lawsuits for gun violence victims. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Michael Haggard: It's important for victims to remember that they have legal rights and options to pursue justice. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help victims understand their legal recourse and ensure their voices are heard in the pursuit of justice and compensation for their losses.