Family of woman killed at Brown Sugar Festival file wrongful death lawsuit

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20-year-old shooting victim Evereonna Sankey.

The family of a young woman gunned down at a festival has Filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
20-year-old nursing school student Evereonna Sankey was shot and killed at the Clewiston Brown Sugar Festival last year.

The Sankey family claims negligent security led to Evereonna’s death and that Brown Sugar Festival organizers should have known criminal activity was likely.

The Harlem Academy Alumni Association will not hold the big festival this year, but the lawsuit makes it clear that’s not enough.

The Sankey family wants someone to pay for Evereonna’s death. Evereonna Sankey’s mom Teresa believes the Harlem Academy Alumni Association is to blame.

The wrongful death lawsuit claims there’s a history of violence at the Brown Sugar Festival, and those in charge failed to have the proper security at the packed event.

Festival organizers say this year will be different. They are replacing the packed event in favor of a small-scale celebration. Harlem Academy made the change after Teresa Sankey begged organizers to cancel the festival entirely at a December meeting. “This is really like a slap in my face, my child’s murderer hasn’t even been caught yet and y’all planning another festival with no concern or lack of concern for the safety of not only your community but all these other people that descend here on Harlem,” said Teresa Sankey in that December meeting.

This year organizers have asked neighbors to keep their celebrations to their yards. The theme this year? Take a stand against violence. It’s a time to teach, preach, and educate people about the dangers of violence.

The Harlem Academy Alumni Association said they had no idea about the lawsuit and have no comment.

The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office says it’s still investigating the shooting, but the killer is still on the loose.

Leaders in Harlem held a meeting on Thursday night to talk more about the scaled-back celebrations and an agreement with the sheriff’s office for Brown Sugar security in 2023.

The meeting let the community know this year’s Brown Sugar Festival will be celebrated on a much smaller scale.

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