According to USA Today, police responded to the Victory City Church located at 163 West 20th Street on Saturday, Februay 1st, after reports of shots fired. Authorities reported that family members attended a funeral when an argument broke out and that is when the shooting occurred, striking a total of three people.
Two victims, Royce Freeman, 47, and a 15-year-old boy were pronounced dead at the scene; a third victim was taken to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. The woman is expected to recover from her injuries as they were non-life threatening.
Police have since arrested 19-year old, Derrick Eugene Peoples, who was identified from security footage of the incident. Peoples was arrested on charges of first degree murder with a firearm and is being held without bond.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard, regularly represents victims of violent crimes in civil lawsuits. Below, Mr. Haggard has detailed some information outlining legal options in cases such as these. Mr. Haggard does not represent any of the victims in this case.
"Every state has a standard for how a property owner is to secure their premises. They need a type of safety feature such as, on-site officers, video surveillance, or well-lit outdoor areas. According to Premises Liability Law, property owners can be held legally responsible if a visitor is injured during a crime.
If a property owner fails to provide adequate security to their patrons, they can be found negligent. If that is the case, a crime victim attorney must prove an act of negligence occurred by finding a reasonably foreseeable crime was committed. For example, an owner of a church knew about elevated criminal activity, but chose to not improve security and in the following weeks a shooting occurred where someone was seriously injured. This would be a case of reasonably foreseeable risk by a property owner.
Whenever a victim of a shooting dies, courts can allow family members to request a private civil suit on behalf of their loved one. Funeral expenses, related medical costs, and therapy bills are some examples of requested compensation," described Attorney Haggard.
For more information on shooting cases and for answers to questions such as "Can I sue for being shot?" click the link.