2 shooting victims file lawsuit

Suit names shooter, Odenton fire company, county officials

August 24, 2008|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

Two people who were shot outside a 2005 party at the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company's banquet hall have filed a $7 million lawsuit claiming the shooter was reckless and the organizer of the party and county officials and fire company officials did not provide adequate security.

The lawsuit - filed Aug. 12 by Erica Lynn Williams of Annapolis, who was hit by a car as she attempted to flee the gunfire, and Delvin Delonta Eldridge of Baltimore, who was shot in the lower back - names Temika Young, who organized the party, Terrance Carlester Medley, the convicted shooter, and Anne Arundel County and the Odenton fire company as defendants, saying they "had a duty keep their premises safe and secure."

The lawsuit contends that Young's application to the Anne Arundel Liquor Board Commissioners said the event in the hall in the 1400 block of Annapolis Road was a "second anniversary party" for a local couple that was to include a jazz band, a DJ and about 25 guests. But the lawsuit said Young instead charged a $10 admission for anyone to attend the party. It was not clear how many people showed up.

The lawsuit contends that "security individuals" that Young hired denied Medley access to the party on Sept. 10, 2005, and he went to his car, came back with a gun and began "shooting randomly" into the crowd.

As shots rang out, according to the lawsuit, members of the volunteer fire department turned off lights in the building and the parking lot and closed all the doors of the banquet hall, "which resulted in additional panic for the party guests."

"They had a responsibility to make sure it was a safe environment," said Alan Hilliard Legum, the attorney representing Williams and Eldridge. "Our clients received fairly substantial injuries through no fault of their own. They were just innocently attending this event."

Legum said as a result of the lax planning and security at the party, "it was a situation that got out of control."

Robert L. Rose, president of the volunteer fire department, declined to comment, referring all calls to county officials.

Jonathan A. Hodgson, the county attorney, did not respond to a call seeking comment.

Young could not be reached.

Medley, of Davidsonville, drove away from the scene in a Chrysler Concorde but crashed it into a utility pole on Telegraph Road in Odenton, police said. He was convicted in 2006 of attempted second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years, with all but 18 years suspended. He is being held at the Eastern Correctional Institute in Westover.

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