Video, lawsuit reveal prior security concerns at Jacksonville Landing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Long before a 24-year-old man opened fire Sunday during a video game tournament at the Jacksonville Landing, killing two fellow gamers, wounding 10 and then killing himself, concerns were raised about overall security at the waterfront mall.

Victims of Sunday's mass shooting | Shooting investigation

The I-TEAM has uncovered a lawsuit questioning the public's safety at the Landing, and has also obtained video of a Brunswick man who was brutally attacked while he was walking there. 

February 2018 attack

The video, which some may find disturbing, shows Justin Lee moments after he was left beaten and left bleeding six months ago.

"He was attacked out of nowhere," said Attorney Ted Pina about Lee. "He had no idea who hit him. Just ran up out of the crowd and took off."

Cellphone video was taken moments after Justin Lee was attacked at the Landing in February

Pina showed the I-TEAM where his client was attacked on a Thursday night last February near Chicago Pizza. Pina said he's suing the Landing on behalf of Lee for failing to provide enough security that February night to protect its customers.

"There should be more. There should be a bigger security presence. There should be more off-duty officers," Pina said.

Pina told the I-TEAM that Landing management knows there's a security problem, but said they've not done enough to fix it.

November 2017 lawsuit

The I-TEAM has also discovered a different lawsuit, filed Nov. 17, 2017 by Jacksonville Landing Investments, which operates the Landing, accusing the city of Jacksonville of breaching its leasing contract in a number of ways including failing to provide adequate security for patrons, specifically in and around the Landing and its exterior common areas.

That lawsuit was filed three months before Lee was attacked and nine months before Sunday's mass shooting.

Jacksonville Landing security

While at the Landing Tuesday, the I-TEAM did see a police officer on patrol as well as a security guard on duty. Several employees there also told us they see security walking through the mall all of the time.

We asked a restaurant manager, who did not want to be identified, about security and police presence, and she told us she has always felt safe.

"They are always here, that's what I can tell you. I feel so secure because they are always here."

The I-TEAM asked that restaurant manager if anyone from The Landing had contacted her and other business managers to update them about security following Sunday's deadly shooting at the Madden 19 tournament, and she told us no one has.

She added that businesses are supposed to notify Landing management every month if they are planning any big events so security is aware. We don't know if that was done regarding Sunday's Electronic Arts "Madden NFL 19" video game tournament at the Good Luck Have Fun Game Bar inside Chicago Pizza.

For a response to security concerns and protocol, the I-TEAM reached out to the Jacksonville mayor's office, the city's general counsels' office, Landing owner Toney Sleiman, as well Landing management. We will update this story when we hear back. 

About the Authors:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.