Woman shot four times sues Knoxville apartment complex

Woman shot four times sues Knoxville apartment complex

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"What's happened is there's just been so much violent criminal activity going on there that people aren't safe," said Taylor. "What's happened is there's just been so much violent criminal activity going on there that people aren't safe," said Taylor.
By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A woman shot four times last year in a random act of violence is speaking out for the first time about the shooting. This as she files a civil lawsuit against the property owners and managers of the apartment complex where the shooting took place.

According to Knoxville police in June of last year more than a dozen shots were fired at the Ridgebrook Apartment complex. A woman and her child found themselves trapped as bullets flew by. 6 News spoke with the mother and her attorney about the shooting and the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims that the Ridgebrook Apartment owners and managers knew the history of violence at the complex and failed to take any steps to curtail, limit or reduce the pattern of violent criminal activity making the apartments unsafe for residents and visitors. The lawsuit alleges that the negligence caused the shooting victim emotional pain and physical injuries.

According to the lawsuit, on June 7, 2013, Tammy Faumuina spent the day helping a friend move in to the Ridgebrook Apartments. She says she was leaving with her six year old daughter when shots were fired. She says she was trapped in her car as people were shooting at each other.

“Knowing that your kid is sitting right behind you and not knowing whether they are going to live or die there's no emotion that you can tell someone,” said Faumuina.

Faumuina was shot four times. She says the bullets of an AK-47 went through her car and her seat. Today a bullet fragment remains in her hip. Her child was unharmed.

“Just about every night I feel like I'm right back there in that situation. I have many dreams,” said Faumuina.

Faumuina says when she lived at the Ridgebrook Apartments back in 2012 shootings occurred often at the complex. 6 News researched the public crime map raids online.

Within 500 feet of the Ridgebrook Apartment address there have been 81 reports of violent crime from January 1, 2011 to June 3, 2014.

Just a couple blocks away at the Western Heights property, which has almost five times the amount of units, there have been 88 reports of violent crime in the same time frame.

About three and a half miles away at Austin Homes there have been six reports of violent crime in a 500 foot radius. This complex is similar in size to the Ridgebrook Apartments.

After being shot Faumuina retained attorney William Taylor. Taylor says the apartment managers and property owners are at fault putting the residents and visitors in danger due to negligence.

“What's happened is there's just been so much violent criminal activity going on there that people aren't safe,” said Taylor.

Taylor says the apartment managers and property owners should have put security measures in place.

“No security guard, no nighttime security guard, the lighting was terrible, no neighborhood watches formed, no parameter fence,” said Taylor.

The lawsuit seeks $1.5 million in damages. Faumuina hopes the lawsuit causes the apartment complex to make improvements in security.

“The kids they don't need to live like that, everyday being scared that somebody is going to get shot out there,” said Faumuina.

6 News contacted Phil Lawson. He is the CEO of the companies that own and manage Ridgebrook Apartments. When asked about the lawsuit Lawson said the victim was asked not to come on the property. He says she had been evicted.

Lawson also said, "We believe we acted properly. We would change the measures we take if we thought there was an issue."

Lawson had no additional comment saying the attorneys will handle it in court.

KPD is still investigating the case and searching for the suspects who shot Faumuina.

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