Calbert Dawson: Seeking Justice for a Wrongful Death
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Family of Calbert Dawson may have a negligence case against gas station for Inadequate Security

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The family of Calbert Dawson may have a case for a wrongful death claim after the 42-year-old was shot and killed following an argument at a gas station in Riviera Beach on February 12, 2024.

Surveillance video shows gunfire taking place in parked car

The fatal shooting occurred shortly before 5:00pm on February 12. Calbert Dawson and the suspect, 33-year-old Lavon Heath were engaged in an argument on the grounds of the Chevron gas station on West Blue Heron Boulevard near President Barack Obama Highway. According to the police report, surveillance video showed Heath arrive at the Chevron station in the passenger seat of the Mercedes-Benz that was driven by an unidentified woman at approximately the same time Dawson arrived in a Honda Accord. A short time later, Dawson exited his vehicle and approached the Mercedes to speak with the woman.

The suspect got out of the Mercedes and began arguing with Dawson. Heath reportedly pointed a gun at Dawson’s head, and pushed the woman away as she exited the Mercedes while trying to calm both men down. He continued to argue with Dawson and followed him to the Honda. Both men entered the Accord, with Heath still holding the handgun. Minutes later, gunfire inside the vehicle ensued. Camera footage shows Heath running back to the Mercedes and then speeding away.

Suspect has history of violence; has felony conviction

According to the woman who arrived at the Chevron station with Heath, she and the suspect have a child together. She said Heath was armed during the confrontation, but Calbert Dawson was not. Investigators also revealed that the victim had a large amount of cash in the pockets of his shorts, as well as a small amount of a powdery white substance contained in small plastic bags. The report did not detail the nature of the powder, or if the money and substance had anything to do with a possible motive for the crime.

On Thursday, March 7, 2024, Heath was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force. The Riviera Beach Police Department said Heath faces one count of first-degree murder with a firearm and one count of felony convictions in possession of a firearm. He was convicted of a felony in 2015, and was not allowed to possess a firearm, according to authorities.

Chevron station and surrounding area has been site of past violent acts, murders

The Chevron station On Blue Heron Boulevard and President Barack Obama Highway is no strange to violence. In May, 2023, another fatal shooting took place in the same parking lot. 29-year-old Deandre Shawn Burgess was arrested for killing a man in the same parking lot. Once again, surveillance caught Burgess firing ten rounds at the victim. Also, in July, 2023, a man drove himself to the parking lot of the Chevron after being shot while sitting in his car on an adjacent street. He was eventually transported by paramedics to a local hospital and recovered from his wounds.

Potential for claim due to Negligent Security for family of Calbert Dawson

The families of victims may have the right to pursue negligent security personal injury and wrongful death claims against the owners and management of the Chevron station. Under Florida law, premises liability holds property owners or companies who lease the property responsible for injuries or damages caused by known criminal activity on their properties. Owners have a “duty of care” towards customers to protect them against dangers that they are aware of or should have been aware of at the time. If a property owner is aware of criminal activity on its property, then it can do things to protect its customers like hire security guards, install security cameras, or increase lighting.

Under Florida law, a “personal representative” may file the lawsuit and represent the estate’s heirs in the suit. Surviving spouses, adult and minor children, and parents may all be eligible to collect damages. Damages may be for both financial losses and emotional losses. It is important to note that Florida requires the following in a wrongful death suit:

  • The defendant’s conduct amounted to a wrongful act, negligence default, or breach of contract or warranty.

  • The conduct upon which the cause of action is based must have caused the death of the decedent(s).

In cases involving negligent security, a claimant must additionally prove that the property owner or lessor:

  • Knew there was criminal activity taking place on the property

  • Failed to take reasonable actions to protect its customers

Have questions about a possible personal injury or wrongful death claim? DON’T wait for an insurance company to contact you! Insurance agents and adjusters work on behalf of the insurance companies, and don’t care about YOUR loss. “Choose the 2’s,” and call the wrongful death experts at GOLDLAW at 561-222-2222 for a COMPLIMENTARY consultation to see if you have a case!

Notice: As a personal injury law firm, GOLDLAW often provides legal analysis and opinion on news stories in the hope that the family and friends of the victims may gain some valuable insight into our theories of negligence based on the facts of the case. Respectfully, our thoughts are with those who have suffered a catastrophic injury or death.