Man left blind from shooting sues local liquor store for not protecting him

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 10:35 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Laramie Liquors on Peoria’s south side is being sued, accused of failing to protect customers, despite more than 670 calls to police over five years for things like shootings, stabbings, fights and robberies.

The man suing them was shot two years ago and left blind at Laramie Liquors, which is owned by Fayez Inc.

The civil lawsuit alleges by-stander Anthony Thomas, 29, was left permanently blind and disabled when he was shot in the head and back during a robbery on March 7, 2021.

David Dillard Jr. who is accused of the attempted robbery and shooting, is also named as a co-defendant in the suit filed by Jeff Green, the attorney for Thomas.

“His day-to-day life is 100% different than what it was before. He can no longer see, he has disfigurement to his face, he’s lost his sense of smell, he was working three different jobs,” said Green.

Thomas says he can no longer provide for his 8 and 10-year-old children after he was shot and became blind.

Attorney Green says Thomas was in Peoria to take care of his mother, who had a stroke, when he walked into Laramie Liquors.

“His life has been completely derailed by what happened that night,” said Green.

Green adds there is an extensive history of violence at the business or on the property. The lawsuit claims there were 679 emergency dispatch calls to the business in the 5 years before Thomas was shot.

“We know that about 50 of those are for the most violent kinds of things; the place being robbed at gun point, theft, a person being on the premises with a gun, assaults with medical injury,” said Green.

Despite the allegedly known violence, the lawsuit alleges Laramie Liquors protected its employees, but did not protect customers. Green says the business has employees behind bullet-proof glass with a raised counter and firearms on the premises. Plus, there’s a silent alarm button that goes directly to law enforcement.

“Unfortunately, in Peoria, we have too many businesses that ignore the crime going on, on their premises until it’s too late,” Green continued, “Legally, they have to protect their customers from an unreasonable risk of harm, based on the type premises and the history going on there.”

Green says studies show hiring a security guard deters crime, but he says Laramie Liquors did not have one.

“Providing security is a non-revenue generating expense for them and so a lot of businesses ignore that,” said Green.

The suit seeks damages for medical costs and a loss of employment to support the young family.

“The damages in this case are absolutely catastrophic,” said Green.

Fayez Inc. has not responded to 25News for comment.

The trial for the criminal case against David Dillard Jr. for the initial incident in 2021 is set for April 17, 2023.