Elijah Dewitt's parents file negligence lawsuit against Lawrenceville mall, Dave & Buster's

Jefferson's Elijah Dewitt.
Jefferson's Elijah Dewitt.

The parents of former Jefferson football standout Elijah Dewitt filed a civil lawsuit this week against several businesses and security services in relation to the October death of their son at a Lawrenceville mall.

Craig and Dawn Dewitt are taking action against Simon Property Group, Sugarloaf Mills, Allied Universal Protection Service, mall security director Jason Choy, Dave & Busters of Georgia and five others listed as John Doe.

The parents claim negligence in providing proper protection for citizens after Dewitt was shot and killed on October 5 in the parking lot outside Dave & Busters in the Sugarloaf Mills mall.

The Dewitts held a press conference Friday, shortly after the arraignment of Chandler Zion Richardson, one of the criminal defendants in the shooting death of Elijah Dewitt, to announce their civil lawsuit.

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The lawsuit alleges there had been a history of previous crime on the premises and that the defendants "knew of the dangerous and hazardous conditions" that existed around the mall.

"When business know that their property is dangerous, either because of crime or other dangerous activity happening there, they have 2 options: 1) warn visitors, so they know about the danger and can make an educated decision about whether to go to the property, or 2) if they choose not to warn visitors, then they need to take reasonable safety measures to protect customers who are unaware of the dangers," said Dewitt attorneys at the Rafi Law Firm in a press release. "These defendants did not warn or keep people safe."

Richardson and Kemare Matthew Bryan are facing murder charges in connection with Dewitt's death.

The lawsuit claims that Dewitt was shot and killed during an attempted armed robbery in the Dave & Buster's parking lot while he was on a date with his girlfriend.

"There had been numerous reports of criminal and dangerous activity at the premises and in its immediate surrounding area, including aggravated assaults, robberies, car break-ins, and firearm-related crimes, about which defendants knew. For that reason, as well as others, dangerous criminal activity at the premises was reasonably foreseeable to defendants," the lawsuit alleges.

It also claims that "at all relevant times, defendants owed a duty of care to Elijah to keep the premises safe from dangerous and criminal acts by third parties on the premises."

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Dewitt was a two-time Athens Banner-Herald and All-Area Football Team member and preseason Terrific 20 player leading into his senior season.

He led Jefferson in receiving this past season with 594 yards receiving and five touchdowns, despite playing just six games before his death.

As a junior at Prince Avenue Christian, Dewitt hauled in 1,181 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. He had a scholarship offer from Arkansas State, but more were likely to come.

"Elijah had his whole life ahead of him," said Alex Brown, an attorney with the Rafi Law Firm. "He was just beginning his senior year of high school and was set to continue his football career at the next level when his life was cut short on October 5th. This incident was entirely preventable and should not have happened. It is our intention to hold the defendants responsible for this tragedy and obtain justice for Elijah's family."

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Elijah Dewitt's parents to sue Sugarloaf Mills Mall, Dave & Buster's