• Families sue Eureka Gardens' owners alleging 'negligent security'

    By: Lorena Inclan , Action News Jax


    Global Ministries Foundation is the main defendant named in four lawsuits filed by Jacksonville families claiming “negligent security” led to the slaying of their loved ones.

    Two of the plaintiffs present at a Tuesday news conference were among the seven people who were shot on Aug. 8.

    They didn’t want to show their faces because the shooter remains on the loose but they talked about the injury-related struggles they still face.

    “I’m left handed and I can't even use my left hand,” King said.

    King’s fiancee was also injured.

    “I got shot twice in my back and once in my leg, and right to this day I still have problems,” Jaqueline said.

    You could see the pain in Regina Robinson’s face as she talked about her son Demantrae Franklin, who was shot and killed in October of 2014.

    “He was only 15, a baby visiting his friends,” said Robinson.

    For the family of 22-year-old Christopher Cornelio, who was killed in March 2014, the loss has left a huge void.

    “He brought so much joy to our lives and to everybody he met,” said Robin Staley, mom.

    Keandra Charmene got emotional as she talked about her boyfriend, Cornelio, who also fathered their child.

    “He literally had a year and a week with his son to build a relationship to build memories and that lasted seven days. He was fighting for his life,” said Charmene.

    Global Ministries Foundation, the management company, and the security firm hired by GMF are named in the lawsuits.

    With the exception of Cornelio’s lawsuit which doesn’t name the security firm, Protective Enterprises of Florida, because it wasn’t hired at the time of his death.

    “What we're alleging is that there was not reasonable security at the property to make sure people are safe,” said Douglas McCarron with the Haggard law firm.

    The families hold the property owners ultimately responsible for the violence in the troubled apartment complex.

    “They really need security this has been going on for years,” Robinson said.

    The families hope the lawsuits will get them to react and hopefully prevent another tragedy.

    “I don't think it will be the last if they don't do anything about it,” Robinson said.

    Eureka Gardens is in the middle of a transition to new owners. The new company that will take over said it’s aware of the lawsuit against GMF and is already making changes to address the security concerns.

    A spokesperson for GMF sent Action News Jax this statement:

    “We will continue to cooperate and work with the police in connection with their investigation into the shootings.” 

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