JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville family has been awarded a $3.6 million settlement in a wrongful death case in Duval County.
The Haggard Law Firm says the settlement involves a young father who was killed after recently moving into an apartment complex on the Westside.
On Dec. 20, 2017, The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says DeAngelo Tillie was shot and killed while inside his apartment unit at the Camelot Gardens Apartments.
Haggard Law Firm explains that shortly before the shooting, Tillie’s minor daughter came to his apartment to spend the holidays with him.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., while his daughter was in the bedroom watching television, officials say Tillie was sitting on his sofa in his living room when two unknown assailants opened the door to his unit and shot him numerous times.
A complaint says at the time of the incident, the apartment complex was owned by Defendant Eagle Gardens of Jacksonville, LLC, and managed by Lohman Property MGMT.CO., LLC., which were related entities that were controlled by the same individual.
The complaint says that Tillie moved into the complex with his girlfriend just three weeks before the shooting and did not know the apartment complex had been the location of several prior incidents of crime.
The Haggard Law Firm’s Pedro Echarte and Michael Haggard established that despite the history of violent crime, the defendants failed to address the criminal activity at the property and largely ignored the problem.
“Unbeknownst to them there had been a horrific history of crime, especially in the last year since the defendants owned this property," said Echarte. "They purchased the property in 2016. There have been numerous shootings, numerous armed robberies, some of those victims of those shootings have been shot and paralyzed.”
The law firm says the defendants initially claimed they had a police substation on the property and also 40-60 hours of private security guard services every week, but it says both contentions proved to be misleading.
The Haggard Law Firm’s investigation reportedly proved there was no such substation.
The law firm also says that while the defendants did pay private security guards, the guards did not spend their time patrolling the property in a proactive security capacity.
"Mr. Tillie’s two minor children, including his daughter who was in the apartment at the time of the shooting, were the statutory survivors in this claim," said the law firm in a media release. "The damages primarily comprised of their past and future pain and suffering. The case settled for $3,600,000 two weeks before the trial was set to begin."
First Coast News reached out to the defendants listed in this case for a statement. They hung up on us.