A 22-year-old Barnwell man, Brandon Perry Buckmon, has been named as a suspect in connection with a shooting that occurred in the parking lot of Walmart located at Whiskey Road in Aiken, South Carolina. The shooting occurred on November 26, 2023 and resulted in one person suffering serious injuries.
The shooter was arrested on November 29, 2023 in Williston, SC on unrelated charges, and he’s currently detained at the Orangeburg County Detention Center.
The shooting took place around 4:35 p.m. in the Walmart parking lot after a confrontation. Buckmon allegedly shot the victim in the shoulder after the victim refused to give him money.
Interestingly, this is the second shooting this year at this very same Walmart. The other shooting happened in June of this year where a 13-year-old girl was shot and seriously wounded. In that case, a 32-year-old individual, Stephen Foreman, faced charges of attempted murder.
Gun-Related Deaths in South Carolina
According to Everytown for Gun Safety’s report, the rate of gun deaths rose 47% in South Carolina between 2012 and 2021. That’s significantly higher than the national average, which was right around 39%. More alarmingly, the rate of gun homicides in South Carolina increased 92%, compared to a 73% increase nationwide.
Every year in South Carolina, an average of 483 people die by gun homicide, and another 864 are wounded. In fact, South Carolina has the 6th highest rate of gun homicides and gun assaults in the nation. Tragically, 111 children and teens die in South Carolina every year as a result of gun violence, and 62% of these deaths are due to homicide.
Pursuing a Negligent Security Claim in South Carolina After a Shooting at Walmart
Navigating the aftermath of a shooting at a Walmart or anywhere else can be a daunting and traumatic experience. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a shooting at a Walmart in South Carolina, you may be entitled to file a negligent security claim against those in charge of the property and its security, including Walmart. Let’s talk about some of the main points regarding negligent security cases in South Carolina.
Understanding Negligent Security
Negligent security is a way that victims of foreseeable violent crimes can hold a property owner liable for their injuries. In South Carolina, a property owner may be held liable for injuries caused by criminal acts on their property, particularly if they failed to take reasonable security measures to prevent such incidents and if such crimes were reasonably foreseeable. If Walmart did not uphold this standard, they might be responsible for damages incurred during the shooting.
Collect and Document Evidence
Immediately following any incident that may be the subject of an injury or death claim, it’s imperative to gather evidence. Evidence may include things like medical reports, witness accounts, and any security footage that captured the incident. We like to send out letters of preservation, sometimes called “spoliation letters,” soon after we get on a case because this is a great way to deter a potential defendant from destroying or losing critical evidence.
Foreseeability and Causation
Your claim must demonstrate that Walmart could have foreseen the potential for danger and that their negligence was a direct cause of your injuries. Evidence of prior similar incidents at the same location could significantly bolster your case. In this particular situation, there was a shooting at the same Walmart months earlier, and thus there’s a strong argument that Walmart knew or should have known that guests could be harmed by violent crime.
Talk to a Lawyer
Securing a South Carolina personal injury lawyer with experience in negligent security claims is critical. Your lawyer will offer invaluable guidance through the complexities of legal proceedings and help you build a strong case.
Consider the Full Scope of Damages
Your claim should encompass the full spectrum of your losses, including medical costs, emotional distress, lost income, and more. A meticulous evaluation with your attorney will ensure you claim all applicable damages. Remember: You don’t get two bites at the apple, and so you need to make sure that you seek all available damages before you sign a release of claims.
Be Prepared for Settlement or Trial
Many negligent security claims resolve through settlement negotiations or mediation. However, if you and your lawyer can’t get the other side to play fair, you may need to take the business or property owner to court.
The Necessity of Holding Apathetic Business Owners Accountable
When you look at this situation, you have to ask yourself whether Walmart did anything after the 13-year-old girl got shot back in June. They may have. However, the next question would be: Did they do enough?
These companies make decisions based on money, and when they put money over safety, it puts us and our families in danger. Perhaps there was nothing more they could do. However, with the money Walmart makes and with a location in a state like South Carolina that’s so business-friendly, you have to think they probably could have afforded some additional safety measures. We can’t be sure with the information provided to us, but we can be sure that someone should get to the bottom of all this before another person gets hurt or killed.