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Greenwood Park Mall shooting victims remember event in lawsuit filed

Victims of the mass shooting accuse Simon, security firm of failing to protect shoppers

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Eumeka “Meka” Stewart still remembers walking into Greenwood Park Mall to pick her girls up from school shopping. She tried to reach her youngest on the phone, but the calls were not going through.

She was walking to the food court when she heard 20-year-old Jonathan Sapirman open fired. She saw gun smoke with people running toward her.

“I finally reached my minor child, and she explained to me that her older sister Kaya had been shot. She told me Kaya was dead. She didn’t know what was going on at that point because she ran out of the food court, through the mall, through Dick’s Sporting Goods, over to the movie theater for safety,” said Stewart.

RELATED: Greenwood Park Mall shooting victims file lawsuit against Simon Malls, Allied University

“I ran the whole of the mall, back through the Applebee’s exit, to my vehicle, and got over to the movie theater. My oldest son went to go grab her out of the movie theater and back to our vehicle.”

Greenwood Park Mall shooting victims file lawsuit

Several victims of the Greenwood Park Mall mass shooting have filed a lawsuit in Marion Superior Court against Simon Property Group and Allied Universal Event Services.

Among the allegations in the complaint, Simon and Allied, who were contracted to provide security services for the mall, are accused of failing to take reasonable steps to prevent the July 17, 2022, mass shooting from occurring.

Plaintiffs include two sisters, Kaya Stewart and a minor referred to as “O.S.,” who were in the food court together. It also includes their mother, Eumeka “Meka” Stewart, who was nearby in the mall when assailant Jonathan Sapirman opened fire. As the legal guardian of O.S. husband and father Samuel Stewart III is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

RELATED: Phone of man who killed 3 at Indiana mall had Hitler photos, `extremely graphic’ videos of killings

Kaya Stewart was shot multiple times, incapacitated and sustained life-threatening injuries.

She was by her sister’s side when Sapirman turned his weapon on O.S. He fired at O.S. as she turned and ran.

The shots missed O.S., but he shot the food out of her hands, according to her parents.

Meka Stewart was forced to run in the opposite direction of the food court as a large crowd rushed to escape. 

Given the prevalence of mass shootings in numerous malls across America, Samuel Stewart said that it was foreseeable to defendants Simon and Allied that similar events could likely occur.

Simon Property Group and Allied Universal sued

“They are responsible because that window of time that he came into the parking lot, walked through the parking lot, through the courtyard and into the mall food court and the bathrooms; he stayed in there more than an hour,” said Samuel Stewart.

“No one checked in the bathroom to see why he was in there. No one noticed that he’s a strange individual with this big backpack, with all of these guns and no one did anything that should have set off alarm bells. My minor child saw him come out of the restroom, and she immediately said, ‘We need to get out of here.’”

He questions mall owners and security over future action plans to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.

He said he and his family never received an official statement from Simon Malls acknowledging the impact of the tragedy.

“Here’s the thing, it wasn’t just this one event, right? There’s been at least three or four shootings involved on their properties in Indianapolis. You piece all these little data points together and where’s the trend going? Is it getting better or worse?” said Stewart.

The complaint alleges that this incident would have been preventable if the dozens of video feeds throughout the parking lot and mall were adequately staffed. Also if all the cameras working properly, and/or if the food court had been appropriately monitored by security personnel.

Instead, Sapirman went unnoticed on mall property as he walked through the parking lot of the mall. He walked into the mall and then a restroom near the food court while carrying a long, heavy black backpack.

Accused of negligence

There, donning an ammunition vest, he spent over an hour assembling weapons, including a Sig Sauer model 400M rifle, a Smith and Wesson M&P15 rifle, a Glock model 33 handgun, six fully loaded 5.56 magazines and two Glock 33 magazines.

No Simon employee or Allied security personnel attended the men’s restroom for over an hour, contrary to their own protocols.

Additionally, no Allied security personnel were present in the mall’s food court at the time of the shooting. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Greg Laker and Andrea Simmons from the firm Cohen & Malad, LLP, Indianapolis.

Laker said lawsuits like this tend to take two to three years to resolve.

“Simon will hire counsel. Allied will hire counsel. There’ll be a bunch of documents exchanged from both sides. Most importantly, all the investigations have been done by the State Police, IMPD and Greenwood Police Department,” said Laker.

“Now that we filed a lawsuit, we’re going to learn a ton of information once we get our hands on those investigations, and the lawsuit will proceed.”

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at (317) 762-7853 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON. 

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