HOUSTON – A family filed a lawsuit against an apartment complex after a 3-year-old child was shot in the head by a stray bullet in north Harris County, according to a press release.
Helena Lane and her family filed the lawsuit against The Palms at Cypress Station at 990 Cypress Station Drive. The family said the shooting was a result of gun violence in later April.
The family said Lane was shot while sitting in her car seat in a car outside the apartment. Her mother and five-year-old sister witnessed the shooting. The child is currently in critical but stable condition.
According to the lawsuit, Dornell Jenkins, a person who lived at the apartment, reportedly shot the bullet that hit the child. He is currently in jail.
The attorneys argue Harris County-based Globix Palms LLC, who own The Palm, “breached its duty” to the residents “by failing to use ordinary care to take reasonable and adequate precautions, provide reasonable safety, or to provide an adequate warning.” Arguing the owners “knew or should have known about” the crime in the apartment.
Houston attorneys Mo Aziz and Ali Roberson outlined numerous violations including failure to maintain safety features, failure to give notice of criminal acts in the apartment, and failure to screen or conduct background checks of known felons on the premises who posed an unreasonable risk of harm.
The attorneys said this was not an isolated incident at The Palms, which has a long history of violence and crime. In the three years prior to the shooting, there were close to 2,500 calls made to police related to incidents at the apartment, per the release.
“A lack of basic security and resident background checks has led to over 130 incidents in the past three years alone, including 41 assaults, 33 violent crimes with a deathly weapon, and 85 police calls for gunfire,” the attorneys wrote in the release. “On average the police are called 2-3 times a day by someone at the complex.”
Children, like Lane, are often the unintended victims of this violence, the attorneys said.
“Apartment complexes, condominiums and apartment buildings have a duty to keep their residents, and guests of residents safe, particularly when danger is foreseeable or predictable,” said Aziz.
The family is seeking over $1,000,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit.