On November 13, 2023, authorities in Ocala responded to a shooting at a local convenience store, which resulted in two people sustaining injuries. The incident occurred at the Kwik Stop on West Silver Springs Boulevard a little before 6:30 p.m.
An officer near the scene arrived after hearing gunfire. Apparently, the shooting occurred in the parking lot, and two people were shot in the leg. Neither of the victims suffered fatal injuries.
After the incident, law enforcement detained a 22-year-old man, Jordan Goodman, linking him to the shooting at the gas station. Goodman faces serious allegations, including aggravated battery with a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, and narcotics possession.
How Common Are Shootings at Gas Stations in Florida?
Shootings at gas stations happen more frequently than you might think. All you have to do is search "shootings at gas station in Florida," and you'll get pages of incidents. You can also view the data from the Florida Department of Health, which shows the deaths from firearm homicide to get a general idea of how different counties in Florida measure up in terms of shooting deaths.
Gas stations are often open late into the night, and it's often easy for criminals to get in and out of a gas station parking lot easily. This makes sense because gas stations are designed to be easily accessible for the public.
Why Do People Get Shot at Gas Stations?
We have seen a variety of factual circumstances that lead to someone getting shot at a Florida gas station. Sometimes, a person is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, filling their tank with gas. Then, violence breaks out in the parking lot, and the victim catches a stray bullet.
Other times, the shooting victim gets into an altercation with the shooter, and then the shooter pulls out a gun and shoots the victim. Sometimes, people are in the store when a robber tries to rob the gas station. Then, the robber pulls out a gun and starts shooting, and a patron in the store gets shot.
When Can a Shooting Victim Bring a Negligent Security Claim Against a Gas Station in Florida?
Negligent security is a legal concept that allows shooting victims to hold gas station owners liable for injuries suffered as a result of a shooting on the business premises. The key in these types of cases is showing that the gas station owner or management company or security company (or all of the above) failed to implement reasonable security measures.
Whether a security measure is "reasonable" will often boil down to whether violent crime on the property was foreseeable. The defense attorneys and insurance companies love to argue that a given crime wasn't foreseeable, but there's evidence out there that can be used to show that crime was, in fact, foreseeable.
For example, crime data in the areas around the gas station might show that violent crime was prevalent in the area. Other times, there might be a history of 911 calls or calls to law enforcement involving the exact gas station where the shooting happened.
Overall, gas stations the don't have security measures in place attract crime to the area and put everyone in danger. Criminals choose where they commit crimes, and they're going to choose a place where they think they can get away with it. Thus, when a gas station owner tries to just blame the criminal for what happened, it's a lot like a property owner hanging up meat on the property and then blaming the wolf when someone gets attacked. Often times, the attack never would have happened if the owner hadn't created or allowed a hazardous environment.
What Security Measures Should be in Place at a Gas Station?
There's a lot of different security measures that may need to be in place at a gas station to prevent folks from getting hurt. For example, Florida has a specific convenience store statute, which provides that gas stations should have some basic security measures in place, including:
- Security cameras;
- Drop safes or cash management devices;
- Proper lighting in the parking lot;
- Window signage that allows a clear view from the outside to the cash register;
- Height markers at the entrance;
- Cash management polices that limit the amount of cash on hand during hours after 11:00pm;
- No window tinting that reduces exterior or interior view in a normal line of sight; and
- Silent alarm system or private security personnel.
If there's been a prior murder, robbery, sexual battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, kidnapping, or false imprisonment on the property, additional requirements may apply.