RIVIERA BEACH – A teenage survivor of a shootout during a Sweet 16 party last fall is suing Riviera Beach claiming inadequate security. Richard Ryles, attorney representing Keyon Alderman, the teen who was shot in the arm while attempting to leave the party, said the city did not provide adequate security for the event.
Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters could not be reached for comment. The birthday celebration was held Sept. 1, 2012 in the Newcomb Banquet Hall at the Riviera Beach Marina, 180 E. 13th St.
Ryles said in a statement his office released about the lawsuit that, in police reports, the shooters did not hide their weapons and they were not patted down when they entered the facility.
One of the alleged gunmen, Rijkard Jean-Baptiste, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.
Jean-Baptiste, who was also injured in the shooting, is accused of killing Antonio Hinds, 17, and Andy Joseph, 16, both of Riviera Beach.
In the statement released by Ryles, Alderman, 18, said that he has had a difficult time coping since the incident.
“My life has been turned upside down since the shooting incident,” he said. Alderman’s injuries reportedly include a shattered bone in his forearm. According to the lawsuit, which was filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court, the city of Riviera Beach knew or should have known that the property where the Sweet 16 party was held was located in an “area of high crime.”
The lawsuit also stated that invitees while on the property or within the facility were at risk. It was the onus of the property owner to provide adequate security and ensure the safety of patrons at any establishment, Ryles said.
“Every property owner that rents its property has a duty to require the people renting it to conduct themselves in a safe manner,” he said. “Riviera Beach fell woefully short.” Ryles said Riviera Beach needs to change its policies concerning security measures to help residents feel safer.
“No parent or child should have to live in fear. Riviera Beach must change its policies and move into the Twenty-first Century when it comes to security,” he said.