Victims of Ohio nightclub shooting sue club, owner

Members of the ATF and local police work at a crime scene at the Cameo club after a fatal shooting, Sunday, March 26, 2017, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CINCINNATI (AP/WDTN) — Eight victims of a gunbattle in a Cincinnati nightclub that left two people dead and 15 injured have sued the nightclub, its owner and the building owner.

The lawsuit filed recently in Hamilton County alleges that the defendants failed to have a proper security plan and didn’t have enough security personnel at the time of the March 26 shooting. It also contends they failed to protect patrons of the Cameo club from “violent activity and injury.”

Some patrons were “intentionally allowed into the club without any security patdowns or any security protocol in exchange for a higher admission fee at a secret back entrance,” according to the lawsuit filed May 25 in the county Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuit was filed against Cameo Cincinnati LLC, doing business as Cameo Night Club, its owner Julian Rodgers and the Kellogg Group LLC, which owned and operated the building. Court records don’t list attorneys for the defendants. Telephone numbers listed for Rodgers and the club are no longer in service. A recording at a cellphone listed for Rodgers said the mailbox was full and couldn’t accept messages, and no phone number could immediately be found for the Kellogg Group.

Cameo’s owners were “aware and complicit in the creation of security risks” to their business and patrons, according to the lawsuit.

A statement released by Rodgers after the shooting rejected claims that people could pay to avoid the long line to get into the club without being checked.

Police estimate 200 people were inside the club when a dispute escalated into a gunfight in which more than 20 shots were fired. The popular club near the Ohio River east of downtown Cincinnati has since closed.

Those filing the lawsuit are individually seeking judgments against defendants for damages in excess of $25,000, plus legal costs and any further relief the court may determine. The lawsuit alleges they suffered bodily injury, pain and mental anguish, and incurred expenses for medical treatment and loss of earnings as a result of the shooting. They are seeking a jury trial.

Cornell Beckley, 27, of Cincinnati, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and other counts in the shooting that prosecutors said developed from a neighborhood “feud over nothing.” His trial is scheduled for November.

Beckley’s attorney says there’s no evidence showing his client “fired a shot at anyone.”

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