On Thursday, November 30, 2023, 18-year-old Isaiah Perez was gunned down at the Mystic Cove Apartments. Reports state that Perez walked out of his apartment after several shots were fired, and then he collapsed on the sidewalk. He died soon thereafter.
The shooter has not been found at this time. However, investigators found a red car at the scene of the shooting with the engine still running and the door open. The car was later towed; however, it’s not clear at this time how the vehicle was related to or involved with the shooting.
Gun Violence and Shooting Statistics in Florida
According to the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, there were 2,872 gun-related deaths in Florida in 2019 alone. Of those deaths, 85% of the victims were male.
The report by the EFSGV also found that Florida posted the 25th lowest gun death rate in the country in 2019. Nonetheless, roughly 8 people died every day in Florida as a result of gun violence in 2019, and this number is alarming.
Moreover, the data shows that roughly one-third of gun-related deaths were homicides, while roughly two-thirds were suicide. Tragically, 187 of the gun-related deaths in 2019 involved children and teens between the ages of 0 and 19. Thus, gun violence is killing a young person every other day.
Negligent Security in Florida and Apartment Complex Shootings
The tragic shooting at Mystic Cove Apartments starkly highlights the crucial issue of security in residential complexes. In the state of Florida, property owners and managers are legally obligated to ensure reasonable safety measures are in place to protect residents and guests from foreseeable harm, and this “foreseeable harm” includes things like violent criminal attacks.
Negligent security is a legal concept that emerges when a violent act occurs on a property due to inadequate safety protocols. In Florida, if it's found that the property owner failed to implement reasonable security measures that could have prevented the incident, whether it’s a shooting, stabbing, sexual assault, or some other violent criminal attack, the victim or the victim’s family may be able to bring a civil cause of action against the property owner.
For instance, apartment complexes like Mystic Cove are expected to maintain certain security standards, such as working lighting, secure entrances, and, where appropriate, surveillance systems or security personnel. When these measures are lacking or inadequately managed, and an incident occurs, the property owner may be considered negligent.
In the aftermath of a shooting, investigators and legal experts look at whether there were previous incidents indicating a higher risk of violence at the property. If so, this could indicate that the violent attack at issue was foreseeable, and the property should have had tighter security measures in place.
The Basic Idea Behind Negligent Security
As a society, we don’t want to reward business owners for cutting corners or turning a blind eye to crime on their property. This makes our communities unsafe because it attracts criminals from all around, many of whom travel around the country to commit crime. Criminals tend to commit crimes where they think they can get away with it, and business owners who attract crime should not be let off the hook. Otherwise, criminals will continue to frequent the area, and someone else will get hurt.
When a business owner ignores foreseeable crime and allows crime to fester on the property, it’s no different than if the owner attracted wild animals to the property that could cause harm to visitors. Along this line, the owner can’t simply blame the creature for the attack when someone gets hurt. After all, the owner attracted that threat to the property, and they can’t sit back and deflect blame to the creature and claim they did nothing wrong. The threat wouldn’t have been present if the owner hadn’t allowed it.In the same way, when a business owner allows criminals on the property or doesn’t take steps to implement reasonable security measures to prevent harm to guests, the owner can’t simply blame the criminal. Often times, the crime could have been thwarted through reasonable and relatively inexpensive security measures. However, whether it’s to save money or just simple apathy, owners often leave their guests vulnerable to violent criminal attacks by not taking proper steps to mitigate the risk of harm.