On May 6, 2021, the Town Center Mall in Cobb County, Georgia was shut down by police as they investigated an armed robbery and shooting that took place at the jewelry store.
Officers were summoned to A&M Custom Jewelry around 3:20 that afternoon. They determined that the robbery was committed by 3 armed men, who fled the store before police arrived.
According to several witnesses, shots were fired inside the mall. Someone counted between 7 and 10 gunshots before she was able to leave in her car. One employee suffered a non-life-threatening injury during the incident.
At the time of the shooting, there were about 30 customers in the store. Many of them hid in the stock room to avoid the gunfire. Thankfully, the stock room had a door that led out into the mall’s parking lot. Employees were able to guide customers through this exit to safety outside.
Unfortunately, this shooting is just the latest in a string of incidents in metro shopping centers across Atlanta—the 8th since the beginning of the year. It’s the 2nd shooting to occur in Cobb County within the past 6 weeks. On March 23, 2021, there was a shootout between 2 cars in the Cumberland Mall parking lot, injuring 4 people, including a 6-year-old. Fortunately, the 3 teenage suspects in that case were arrested.
As for this latest shooting at Town Center, the 3 masked men have been caught and identified. Karanki Reese (18), Jokava Harris (19) and Desean Powell (19) are now facing drug and weapons charges by Cobb County police. Harris is additionally facing a charge of reckless conduct for firing his gun in the parking lot.
Workplace violence injuries
Any mall employee who was injured during the robbery would be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits according to Georgia law as they were hurt during the course and scope of their employment.
What are your rights when it comes to being injured on the job during the commission of a crime?
There are 2 main qualifiers that must be met for workplace violence to be covered by workers’ compensation in Georgia.
First, the injuries resulting from the assault must have occurred in the scope and course of employment. This is the same for all workers’ compensation claims, but there is a slight difference here. If a personal dispute spills over into workplace violence, it may not be covered.
For instance, if an ex-girlfriend approaches an individual who is working and attacks them on the job, it will probably not be covered because the incident didn’t arise out of the employment; rather, it was personal in nature.
The second qualifier in a workplace violence incident is that the injured worker must not have been the aggressor in the incident. If an employee attempts to harm a coworker by attacking them at work, then they are not allowed to recover under the state’s workers’ compensation statute.
The aggressor isn’t necessarily the one who attacks first. The individual who caused the incident is deemed to be the aggressor. If one person uses “fighting words” against their co-worker, they might be determined to be the aggressor.