The widow of a man fatally wounded in a December shootout at a south Macon sports club filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday seeking more than $1.1 million.
The lawsuit, filed by 38-year-old Derrick Jackson’s widow, Beatrice, alleges Wings Cafe club owner Yong Kim and 10 unnamed defendants were negligent in not providing better security despite prior incidents at the business. Wings Cafe is located on Bloomfield Drive just south of Eisenhower Parkway.
Attempts to reach Kim’s lawyer were unsuccessful Wednesday.
Jaquez Terrance Foster, 23, one of the five men charged with murder stemming from the Dec. 12 melee, appeared in Bibb County Magistrate Court on Wednesday for a commitment hearing. Injured in the shooting, he sat in a wheelchair during the hearing.
The purpose of the hearing was for the judge to determine if there was sufficient cause for Foster’s arrest. The judge ultimately ruled there was enough evidence for the case to move on in the justice system.
Foster will continue to be held without bond until his case is considered by a Superior Court judge.
During the hearing, Foster’s lawyer, Robert Booker, peppered Bibb County sheriff’s Sgt. Cedric Penson with questions about his client’s alleged illegal acts and asked how detectives backed up their allegations.
Penson testified Foster was recorded on surveillance video pointing a gun at 34-year-old George Henley, another man who was fatally wounded.
“I can see him physically pointing the handgun,” Penson said in response to a question posed by Booker.
Henley, also known as DJ Fresh, and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Nastajah Taylor, have been described by authorities as innocent bystanders. Taylor was shot four times, but she survived.
Penson said detectives believe Foster fired at least three to four shots, some fired into a rival gang crowd and others as he was falling backward.
Video shows Foster, an alleged Crips member, moving from the back of the club to the front when members of the Blacc Team arrived, he said.
Deputies recovered a gun from a car Foster rode in after he was shot. Witnesses have told detectives he was in the car, and video footage helped deputies link the gun to the one Foster is allegedly seen firing, Penson said.
Penson said the third man killed, 25-year-old Cory Hollingshed, also is alleged to have been a Crips member.
When Booker asked Penson questions about the order of the shots fired, Penson responded that detectives are still combing videos from multiple cameras to try to piece together the sequence of events.
Penson said shots were fired both inside and outside the club.
Ballistic testing is being performed to help determine which bullets were fired from which guns. Two guns were recovered from the club, he said.
Speaking briefly after the hearing, Booker said his client acted in self-defense.
Two other men charged with murder in the case, Eric Watkins Jr., 28, and Markques Patterson, 29, are scheduled to have commitment hearings Monday. Hearings for Kenyata Lester, 29, and Vertuice Wall, 38, are scheduled for Jan. 20.
Bibb County Commissioners voted Tuesday to seek a Municipal Court review of the club’s liquor license.
LAWSUIT: CLUB FAILED TO PROTECT CUSTOMERS
The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Jackson’s widow seeks compensation for her husband’s lost wages estimated at $1.14 million, reimbursement for medical expenses and payment for the pain and suffering he endured before his death.
Jackson, described in the lawsuit as an innocent bystander, suffered a gunshot wound to his right side, a partial exit wound just below his heart and a lodged bullet that required surgery. He also suffered other internal injuries, according to the lawsuit filed in Bibb County State Court.
He died six days after the shooting.
Beatrice Jackson also is seeking compensation for “emotional loss of life” and other damages, according to the lawsuit.
David Dorer, the Jackson family’s lawyer, said Jackson worked as a day laborer in construction.
He wasn’t a regular at the club and hadn’t been to Wings Cafe on more than possibly one other occasion, Dorer said.
Jackson went to the club Dec. 12 with friends from out of town because it was a bar in his neighborhood. he said.
He was in “no way” affiliated or associated with a gang, Dorer said.
The court filing alleges the club, Kim and the unnamed defendants were aware of prior incidents on the property and had a duty to prevent gang violence.
Video from the night of the shooting shows a security guard breaking up a fight and using pepper spray before the shooting began. A sign at the front door read, “We will call police if anyone is caught with any weapons.”
As examples of prior incidents, the complaint lists the 2011 fatal shooting of 35-year-old Alfred Smith in the club’s parking lot and the May 2014 deaths of Arika Jarrell and Ralph Heard. Although Jarrell and Heard were killed elsewhere in an armed robbery and ambush, they allegedly were targeted as victims while at the club in the hours before their deaths.
The filing also alleges the defendants were aware of at least 70 instances of law enforcement encounters with “unsafe persons.” The encounters occurred in the past five years, according to a statement Dorer issued on the family’s behalf.
Surveillance video footage released by authorities only shows one security guard, and witnesses say the guard wasn’t checking patrons for weapons on the night of the shooting, Dorer said in the statement.
“These failures cost three lives, including Derrick’s, and the family is taking steps to protect its rights through the civil justice system,” Dorer said. “Derrick’s family asks for your prayers and kind words as they lay their father, husband, brother, and son to rest, and hope that the civil justice system will right these wrongs in a fair and impartial way.”
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this story. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.