The family of a Baker man shot to death by a security guard in front of a Baton Rouge nightclub Aug. 26 claims in a lawsuit that unnecessary deadly force was used by the guard.
Baton Rouge police said the guard acted in self-defense when he fatally shot Corey Kaufman, 32, outside of Club Sha La on Plank Road.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in Baton Rouge state court on behalf of Kaufman’s 11-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son paints a different picture of the shooting. The lawsuit, which says the shooting did not occur on club property, identifies the shooter as Absolute Security guard David Lockhart. Police said the company provided security at the club.
According to the lawsuit, Kaufman was parked at a restaurant adjacent to the club when he got into a “verbal exchange” with Absolute guard Lynell Cobb. Another Absolute guard, Johnathan Braxton, approached and “physically engaged” Kaufman by placing him in a defenseless position, the lawsuit states. Braxton then physically escorted Kaufman to Kaufman’s vehicle, the lawsuit says, adding that other security personnel assisted.
“As Kaufman got into his car, numerous Absolute security personnel surrounded his vehicle with weapons drawn and pointed at Kaufman ...” the lawsuit alleges. “As Kaufman attempted to leave, Lockhart fired five or six shots through the windshield of Kaufman’s vehicle, striking him several times.”
Cpl. Tommy Stubbs, a police spokesman, said security guards removed Kaufman from the premises in the early-morning hours of Aug. 26. Kaufman, who had been banned from the club, had made verbal threats to the security guards as they walked him to his car, Stubbs said.
Once inside his car, Stubbs said Kaufman retrieved a gun and pointed it at one of the security guards. The guard fired his weapon once, striking Kaufman in the chest, Stubbs said. Kaufman died at the scene.
“He was killed by private security guards, who had trespassed onto property for which they were not hired to protect, while sitting in his car,” Rob Marionneaux Jr., who represents the plaintiffs, said Friday. “There is absolutely no reason for private security personnel to be armed. By law, they have no special authority. If Corey had been doing anything unlawful it was their obligation to call the police, not take the law into their own hands and kill an innocent person.”
Absolute Security declined comment Friday.
Deon Johnson, a manager of the club who was there the night of the shooting, has said Kaufman bumped a security guard at the door, which led to the guards walking him to his car. Kaufman kept arguing with guards while in his car and eventually pulled out his gun and cocked it, Johnson said. That is when the guard shot Kaufman, she said.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Friday there is no action for his office to take at this point in time.
“It is my understanding that the police investigation has concluded that there will be no arrest and that the shooting was justified,” he said. “I do not have any information or evidence to the contrary. If more information is presented to the police, it will be considered at that time.”
The lawsuit names Absolute Security, Sha-La Boutique & Entertainment, Lockhart, Cobb and Braxton as defendants.
The lawsuit, assigned to state District Judge Tim Kelley, alleges Kaufman’s death was caused by the gross carelessness and negligence of the defendants.