The Columbus Dispatch

Kroger sued by family of man killed by security guard in January

- Dean Narciso

A lawsuit filed by the mother of a man killed by a security guard at a West Side Columbus Kroger in January says the company acted recklessly by using an armed guard who failed to diffuse an altercatio­n inside the store.

An attorney for Charlee Cooper, the mother representi­ng the estate of Paris Royal, states in the March lawsuit that the Kroger guard used “disproport­ionate aggression and unreasonab­le use of deadly force” when he shot and killed Royal on Jan. 26 inside the Kroger at 3600 Soldano Boulevard.

The death was the first of two at a Columbus Kroger store this year. On Thursday night, a security guard shot and killed a man who police say was attempting to rob another outside a Morse Road Kroger. That incident stemmed from a line-cutting incident inside minutes before.

Along with Kroger, the lawsuit names as a defendant Richard Rush, of the South Side, and his then-employer Reliable Protection Services, 5611 Red Carnation Drive, which property records show is an apartment complex near Georgesvil­le and Norton roads on the Far West Side.

According to police reports and the lawsuit, Royal, 26, of the city’s Northeast Side, died after being shot by Rush inside the Kroger store following an altercatio­n between Rush and a woman inside.

Royal reportedly went into the store and began fighting with the security guard, police said. Shots were fired and Royal was struck and later died.

The criminal case is still open and likely will be heard by a Franklin County grand jury, said Columbus police homicide Det. Anthony Johnson.

In it’s response to the civil complaint, Kroger states that it has a “duty and obligation to protect its customers and

associates from the violent conduct of trespasser­s including (Royal).”

Kroger states that in September 2021 it entered a contract with Reliable Protection Services for the private company to provide security services “at one or more of its retail locations.” Details of the contract were not included in the lawsuit “because it contains informatio­n which is confidenti­al and proprietar­y,” according to the Kroger response.

Attorney Chanda L. Brown, who is representi­ng Cooper, said that she has yet to view Kroger security video of the altercatio­n and that employee witnesses have not been provided to her.

“There’s no reason for this to be so private,” Brown told The Dispatch. “This is something that could have been resolved without death.”

The lawsuit states that the Kroger contract with Reliable includes an indemnity clause holding Kroger harmless for lawsuit damages resulting from Reliable’s breach of contract or “damages to property or injuries to persons caused by or resulting from the willful or negligent acts or omissions of (Reliable),” stating that “Reliable was solely and exclusivel­y responsibl­e for the acts of its security guard while on the Kroger premises.”

Cooper is seeking damages from Kroger, Rush and others in excess of $25,000.

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