Suits filed in fatal Proscenium shootings
1:39 pm, April 6th, 2012
The husband of a woman allegedly killed by a security guard last year as she walked through a Midtown parking garage, along with two more women who survived the alleged shooting spree, have filed suits in Fulton County State Court. The three complaints accuse security company AlliedBarton of continuing to employ Nkosi Thandiwe as a guard at the Proscenium even after he had “assailed” a courier with racial epithets in the weeks before the shootings, and later came to work showing off an unpermitted handgun he’d recently bought at a pawn shop.
Thandiwe faces 11 criminal counts, including felony murder, for the July 15 shootings that left Brittney Watts, 26, dead, and paralyzed another woman, Lauren Garcia. The third victim, Tiffany Ferenczy, was shot in the leg. All three women worked at the Proscenium, across the street from the garage.
At the time of the shooting, police said Thandiwe shot Watts in the neck and stole her car, then shot the other women as he fired randomly while fleeing through the garage’s entrance gate.
According to the suits, Thandiwe, who is black, “exhibited behavior and used language demonstrating an intensely negative attitude” throughout his employment as a security guard, and had to be physically restrained when he accosted the courier about a month before the shootings. Two weeks before the shooting, he brought the gun he would use in his shooting rampage to work and “bragged about and showed the weapon to another employee of Allied Barton,” they say.
All three shooting victims were white.
The three nearly identical suits were filed Wednesday, naming as defendants AlliedBarton; Manulife Financial Corporation, which owns the Proscenium; John Hancock Life Insurance, which insures the building; and Thandiwe himself, who remains at the Fulton County Jail.
Watkins, Lourie Roll & Chance partners Robert Roll, Lance Lourie and Stephen Chance filed the suit on behalf of Watts; Joseph Fowler and Richard McCall of Douglasville’s Hartley, Rowe & Fowler are representing Garcia; and Atlanta solo practitioner Andrew Goldner filed Ferenczy’s suit. None of the lawyers immediately responded to queries about the suits.
A copy of Watts’ suit was emailed to AlliedBarton, and spokeswoman Samantha Thomas sent a brief statement in response. “With the litigation in process we cannot comment at this time,” it said, “other than to say that our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragic event.”