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Mother of man shot to death at Kroger files suit

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The mother of an Indianapolis man fatally shot in December by a Kroger manager during what police determined was an attempted robbery is suing the supermarket chain for wrongful death.

Toni Atkinson filed her lawsuit July 13 in federal court in Indianapolis on behalf of her son, Jeremi Atkinson, 26, who was shot at the Kroger store at 5025 W. 71st St. on Dec. 26.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office in early January ruled the shooting by Kroger manager Elijah “Levi” Elliott to be justified under Indiana law to prevent a forcible felony. Elliott, 24, resigned from Kroger about a month later.

The wrongful death suit charges that the Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. was negligent for failing to supervise its employees and enforce its safety policies, which prohibit employees from carrying firearms while on duty.

“As a direct and proximate result of Kroger’s negligence,” the suit says, “Atkinson is deceased and the plaintiff has suffered harm.”

The complaint acknowledges that an “altercation” occurred between Atkinson and a Kroger employees but makes no mention of the attempted robbery.

Police, who talked to witnesses and reviewed surveillance video, said Atkinson was shot after he forced an unarmed female security guard into the store’s office by putting an object in her back and placing her in a headlock. When Elliott responded to cries for help, Atkinson released the woman and charged at Elliott, who shot Atkinson.

Atkinson was wearing a mask and and a hoodie during the incident, but police did not say if was carrying a firearm. He was taken to Wishard Hospital in critical condition and died several hours later.

Kroger spokesman John Elliott said this week that the company was unaware of the lawsuit.

“Thus, our legal department has not had an opportunity to review the filing,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “Until we complete that internal review and possibly consult with additional legal counsel, which could be a lengthy process, we are not able to comment publicly on the suit.”

Atkinson was convicted in 2009 of armed robbery for holding up a Subway restaurant on North Keystone Avenue. He was sentenced to four years in prison and was let go on work release before a warrant was issued for his arrest in February 2011 for violating terms of his release, prosecutors said.

His mother is represented by Jon C. Abernathy of the Indianapolis law firm Goodin Abernathy LLP. Abernathy said he had no comment on the lawsuit.

Drew Miroff, a partner at Ice Miller LLP whose practice includes premises liability and risk management issues, said the case will be difficult to win.

“A violation of a company policy is not necessarily negligence,” he said. “They’re going to have to prove that there was a failure to supervise their employees by not enforcing the policy.”

 

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  • Policy
    Kroger isn't wrong for failiing to enforce their policy, they are wrong for having that policy in the first place. The violation of that policy prevented a serious, violent felony from taking place. It is tragic that the young man lost his life, but it was as a result of his own actions it attempting an armed robbery. He is the only one responsible for the events which transpired.

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  1. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

  2. What a fine example of the best of the Hoosier tradition! How sad that the AP has to include partisan snark in the obit for this great American patriot and adventurer.

  3. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  4. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  5. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

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