Slain man's family may sue
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
The family of a Tallahassee man who was fatally shot in a downtown Gainesville parking garage last year is considering suing local officers, the city and Alachua County over his death, an attorney for the man's relatives said.
Last week, relatives of Andrew Arosemena sent notices of the intent to begin litigation to both the Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, as well as to the city of Gainesville, Alachua County officials and the state of Florida Department of Financial Services, according to the law firm Erickson-McDaniel & Kelley in Tallahassee.
Arosemena, 22, died after he was shot in the head at the Southwest Downtown Parking Garage on Nov. 25. Police said Arosemena had told people to move who were blocking the car he was in. Two men walked over and one fired a gun, fatally wounding Arosemena.
The Leon County man had come to Gainesville with his brother to see the annual University of Florida and Florida State University football game.
Questions over security provided in Gainesville and at the garage that night apparently have been raised.
A statement from the law firm said possible legal claims include negligence, negligent supervision, negligent hire, negligent retention, negligent infliction of emotional distress, wrongful death and negligence in maintaining a municipal facility.
No dollar amount was listed, but the family suffered damages including loss of earnings, mental anguish, emotional distress and medical expenses, according to the law firm.
Attorney Danielle Joyner Kelley said she could not comment further on the matter except that state law requires the notices if the family intends to file a lawsuit.
Whether or not the matter proceeds to court will depend on what is learned in the next six months, Kelley said.
"It just depends on a lot of factual issues in our investigation about what we find out about the garage," she said.
The municipal garage at SW First Avenue and SW Second Street had been deemed a big enough problem before the shooting to put a Gainesville Police annex inside the building. Two men are in custody in connection with Arosemena's death.
In late November, Okpara Nelson, 22, of Gainesville, was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, shooting into an occupied vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Antwan M. Maye, 25, of Trenton, is accused of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill. Both men were being held at the Alachua County jail Monday.
Maye spoke with officers, according to an arrest report, and said Nelson kept saying the shooting had been an accident.
The State Attorney's Office in Gainesville is prosecuting the case. Spokesman Spencer Mann said any possible civil action will not impact the criminal case.
Gainesville Police spokesman Lt. Keith Kameg said Monday he could not comment on pending litigation.
Sgt. Keith Faulk with the Alachua County Sheriff's Office said the Sheriff's Office did not investigate the case and does not provide security for the city parking garage.
"It looks like they've gone down the list and added anybody who was providing law enforcement services that weekend," he said, referring to those agencies that were sent notices.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 352-374-5092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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