CONCORD, N.C. — The family of Aveanna Propst, the 13-year-old girl who was shot and killed at Concord Mills Mall in December of 2019, has filed a lawsuit against the mall's parent company, Simon Property Group.
“As property owners, you have an obligation to protect your patrons from foreseeable crime,” Brian Mickelsen, the family's lawyer said.
Propst was killed when she was struck by a stray bullet outside the Dave & Buster's on Dec. 28, 2019. Two suspects, including a juvenile, were arrested in connection with the shooting.
Daniale Mackin, Propst's mother, is suing Simon Property Group for wrongful death. The lawsuit alleges that Simon "had actual or constructive knowledge of criminal activity generally at Concord Mills Mall, and more specifically of delinquent activity arising from a longstanding problem with unsupervised juveniles at Concord Mills Mall."
The suit details multiple crimes happening at the mall, dating back to 2015, including burglaries and robberies. According to the lawsuit, Concord Police met with mall management in 2017 to discuss security issues at the mall.
"Concord Police Department warned that something bad, like a shooting, was going to happen. Mall management conceded that it would probably take a shooting for any changes to be made by corporate (Defendant Simon Property Group, Inc.)," the lawsuit states.
Police said the shooting happened after Dontae Milton Black got into an argument with a 16-year-old inside the mall. That teen, fearing Black had a gun, left through Dave & Buster's according to police. When Black saw him in the parking lot, he opened fire and shot three people, including Propst.
Hundreds of people attended Propst's funeral, with lines wrapping around the building as friends and neighbors paid their respects.
“She was just so pretty, very beautiful, and smart and she loved her family,” said Gitana Propst, Aveanna Propst’s aunt.
“We miss Aveanna so much, I speak for all of us,” Mackin said.
Mackin said her death has been hard on the family.
“We only have memories with her, and it’s not supposed to be like that,” Mackin said.
Mackin said she is traumatized by the images of the night of the shooting.
"To see her laying there with no help and not moving is all I can remember," Mackin said. "Even though I have more precious memories with her, but that night... I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't do nothing without constantly thinking about that every day."
Mackin said her son, now nine years old, has been hospitalized because of it.
"He was trying to commit suicide, just because he wanted to be with his sister," Mackin said.
Mickelson said they're suing for monetary damages, and for the mall to implement security measures to prevent this from happening again.
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