Jacksonville Hotel Shooting Raises Security Questions

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(Editor’s Note: This is a story from the ‘Morgan Monitor,’ a news wire offering legal perspectives on news in your community.)

A man is critically injured at UF Health Jacksonville in a shooting that took place at the Hawthorn Suites Hotel on Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville early Tuesday morning. Neither the shooter or the victim were guests at the hotel, authorities said.

Few details are available about the crime. Anywhere from three to six shots were fired, hotel guests told ActionNewsJax. The victim was unresponsive in the parking lot when the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrived. No suspect information is currently available, according to a statement. The attack comes after a weeklong break in crime in the area.

The shooting is just the latest in a series of crimes at the hotel and the surrounding area. A 2014 stabbing at the hotel left one woman dead and another injured. Since September 2016 JSO data show 33 crimes took place within half a mile of the hotel, composed mostly of theft, burglary, and assault. Some of those crimes were reported at the hotel, according to the data.

jso-crime-map Since September 2016 JSO data show 33 crimes took place within half a mile of the hotel, composed mostly of theft, burglary, and assault. Some of those crimes were reported at the hotel, according to the data.

Inadequate Security a Major Issue of Our Time

A history of violence at a place of business could open up that company to lawsuits in a legal area called “negligent security.” These actions allow people hurt in public spaces or business places to recover damages for their injuries if businesses could reasonably expect the circumstances causing injury to their patrons to occur.

Negligent or inadequate security arises when a business fails to ensure the safety of its patrons on their premises. A business can be negligent if an act that causes harm is considered foreseeable, meaning the company can and should prepare for it. If a hotel like Hawthorn Suites experienced attacks, knew of drug deals on their property, or were aware of other crimes in the past and did not act to ensure guests’ security — which authorities have not confirmed for this incident at this time — the owners might be considered potentially liable.

For more information about negligent security, including how liability is determined and what you can receive in a lawsuit, visit our negligent and inadequate security information center.

As for the Hawthorn Suites incident, JSO is still seeking information about the whereabouts of the shooting suspect. You can submit any information you might have at their non-emergency line.

(Note: Feature photo is not an actual photo of the crime.)

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