Second lawsuit filed against Zombicon organizers, security company

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – A second lawsuit has been filed against Zombicon organizers and the company that oversaw security for the event by a patron who was shot during the annual downtown Fort Myers gathering.

The suit, filed on Wednesday by Kyle Garick Roberts, 20, against Pushing Daizes, Inc., Southwest Florida Security and Investigation, Inc., and the security company’s owner, Jesse P. Morgan, alleges that:

  • Roberts had a “reasonable expectation” that a safe environment would be provided.
  • Organizers had a duty to “exercise reasonable care” to maintain a safe event, including taking precautions “as reasonably necessary” to protect attendees “from criminal attacks which were reasonably foreseeable.”
  • Organizers should’ve known that criminal acts were “likely” to happen unless they took “reasonable steps” to provide “proper and reasonable security” and prevent criminal acts from occurring.
  • Organizers “breached their duty of reasonable care” to protect attendees by, among other things:
    • Failing to provide adequate security.
    • Failing to provide “competent and adequately trained” security guards.
    • Failing to provide “additional security measures” when current security efforts were determined to be inadequate.
    • Not “reasonably and effectively” utilizing security checkpoints, metal detectors and other security measures to protect attendees.
    • Not reviewing area crime trends to determine security plans.
    • Not implementing “adequate” security policies, measures and procedures to protect attendees.

Roberts, who was shot in the hand, did not specify a payment amount but wanted compensation “for damages and any other such further relief this court deems just and proper,” including current and future medical costs.

“There are things you cannot stop from happening,” said Scot Goldberg, Roberts’ attorney. “There’s incidents you cannot control, people do things. But what you can control is putting the people, the right people, in the right places, that are properly trained. It only takes an event and a fatality and people getting injured like my client to bring these shortcomings to bear.”

Phone calls to Angeli Chin, the event organizer, her attorney and a lawyer for the security company were not immediately returned.

Morgan, the security company owner, declined to comment.

No arrests

Roberts was one of six people shot after gunfire erupted during the Oct. 17, 2015 Halloween-themed event.

Expavious Tyrell Taylor, 20, of Okeechobee, was killed outside Los Cabos Cantina on First Street. His grandmother filed a $5 million wrongful death suit against the organizers and security company in Nov. 2015, claiming security guards weren’t prepared to handle the 20,000 people in attendance and that they failed to check for weapons.

No arrests have been made in the shootings.

Kip Sinclair, the attorney representing the grandmother, previously said he also plans to file suit against the City of Fort Myers and the Fort Myers Police Department.

Following the shootings, Morgan said he wanted to have more guards on duty that night but they were not available. There were 48 unarmed guards on duty for the event, he said.

Up to 60 armed and unarmed security guards manned the event in the past. The Southwest Florida Security guards were supposed to control the flow of people at the perimeter of the event, but attendees trampled snow fences to get inside the perimeter.

“Unfortunately at the barricades, we can’t have every single barricade manned, so people were just coming in through the barricades off the street,” Chin said following the shootings. “We had trained all of our entrance people not to allow any backpacks in or any realistic looking weapons in. They were asked to leave their backpacks, they were told to tell people in line that they had to leave their backpacks and their realistic looking weapons in their vehicles or just not come in.”

Two months later, 115 security cameras were installed throughout downtown Fort Myers.

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