In the last blog post, we wrote a bit about how a shooting can be ruled a form of battery and heard in a personal injury court. Just after writing that piece, we were reading more about another shooting in the Tampa area.
In this case, it was a 14-year-old boy who was shot and killed. It was a drive-by shooting, and although the suspects have not been named or found, there is reason to believe that the killing was a form of retaliation. This comes after the 14-year-old had served as a witness in a stabbing case months before.
This wasn’t the boy’s first run-in with trouble. Shortly after being a witness, he was robbed at gun point. Arrests were made in that case, but this time, the police did not arrive until after the shooters had taken off.
The 14-year-old was rushed to the hospital, but it was too late, and he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Of course, the family has the right to seek damages. They can hire a personal injury attorney to sue the perpetrators because it was a form of assault. Given the intent to kill and the severity of the situation, it would likely be ruled a worthwhile case, and the personal injury attorney would likely begin by digging into the facts of the case as well as the perpetrators’ criminal records.
In the previous blog post, for instance, we spoke about an argument between an ex-husband and a current husband that turned deadly. The ex-husband, who was the shooter, had an extensive arrest history, which did include cases of battery. It is clear that this man did not have a problem threatening and harming others. This history will obviously hurt the defendant’s case.
Unfortunately, regardless of the criminal history, and despite the severity of the offense, the courts cannot award damages unless there is evidence that the defendant named was, in fact, the person who committed the assault. Police in this case say that the 14-year-old’s friends were there at the time of the shooting, but that they chose to leave the scene before the police arrived. It is very likely, especially given the fact that this is being unofficially deemed a case of retaliation for police cooperation, which those who witnessed the crime will choose to remain unnamed. They are not likely to step forward and provide testimony because they fear for their own lives. Without evidence, personal injury cases are lost before they begin.