A student at Full Sail University was tragically killed this past Friday night in a shooting at an Orlando apartment complex. The incident, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel, raises several questions about whether the family of Brandon Benjamin might have a valid negligent security claim against the Gatherings apartment complex.
According to the Sentinel report, Mr. Benjamin was attending a block party Friday night at the Gatherings Apartments located off of University Boulevard, near Dean Road. Apparently there was an argument, someone pulled a gun, and Mr. Benjamin was shot. He tragically died later at Florida Hospital. Police are looking for an older model pickup truck that they believe the shooter used to escape the scene.
According to the website for the apartment complex, the Gatherings touts itself as a luxury apartment complex exclusively for college students. According to the Gatherings website, it is a gated community, with controlled access. Additionally, the website indicates that no firearms are allowed on the Gatherings’ property. The website has a special section to reassure parents that their children/students are in expert hands, will be cared-for, will be provided with comfortable and carefree living environments.
If Brandon Benjamin were my child, I think I would outraged and would want some answers. I think I would want to know what kind of security the Gatherings had in place that fateful night. What kind of control or screening was going on at the front gate, if any? If guns were strictly prohibited, how did Mr. Benjamin get shot? What was this apartment complex doing to enforce its own rules about guns? Where were the “expert hands” when Brandon Benjamin was shot?
Negligent security claims arise when a business knows or should know of a dangerous situation, and does not take reasonable action to stop it. Acts of violence obviously constitute dangerous situations. This is particularly clear when a business makes a commitment to protect or care for a person.
It seems to me that this is a situation where a little security or supervision by the apartment complex would have gone a long way. Did a young man with a seemingly bright future have to die last Friday night? No way.