close
close

Simon Property Group sued by victims of Greenwood mall mass shooting

GREENWOOD, Ind. — The families of several victims of the 2022 mass shooting at Greenwood Park Mall have filed two wrongful death lawsuits against Simon Property Group, the mall’s owner, which has faced scrutiny over security measures it put in place after the shooting.

Background

Police were called around 6:00 p.m. on July 17, 2022 to the shopping center located on US Hwy 31 North after 20-year-old Jonathan Sapirman emerged from a bathroom and began shooting into the food court.


Ultimately, Sapirman killed three people — 56-year-old Pedro Pineda, his wife, 37-year-old Rosa Mirian Rivera de Pineda, and 30-year-old Victor Gomez — and wounded two others. The shooter was eventually shot dead by Elisjsha Dicken, then 22, a legally armed citizen visiting the mall.

Now, the families of the three slain victims have filed a lawsuit against the companies that own and protect the Greenwood Park Mall, alleging that Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and Allied Security Services failed to adequately protect the Pineda and Gomez family before their deaths.

Wrongful death lawsuits

In wrongful death lawsuits filed Tuesday, lawyers for the victims’ families claim Simon and Allied “failed to take reasonable precautions” to ensure the safety of mall patrons.

The lawsuit claims that before the mass shooting, Simon “was aware” that its Indianapolis-area shopping centers were the site of shootings, violent assaults, gang crimes and more. Still, the attorneys say Simon and Allied’s security resources “are not designed to proactively detect suspicious activity and weapons” at their malls.

“Over the past three years, there have been at least four shootings at Simon Malls in and around Indianapolis,” the lawsuits read. “These horrific numbers are a stark reminder that horrific criminal attacks are not only common, but a real and predictable risk whenever people gather in public places like Greenwood Park Mall.”

The lawsuits further state that — specifically on July 17, 2022 — Allied security officials should have known about Sapirman’s suspicious activities before the shooting because he sat in a toilet stall with a gun for more than half an hour.

They also claim that the response of security and emergency services to the shooting was inadequate and that if Dicken had not intervened, Sapirman could have fired “hundreds more bullets” and killed dozens of people.

“(Simon and Allied) knew or should have known that the only way to prevent death and serious injury when an assailant like this one fired a semiautomatic rifle into a crowd was to take reasonable steps to prevent such shootings in the first place,” the lawsuits conclude. “Defendants (Pinedas and Gomez) had a duty of care.”

Given the allegations of wrongful death and gross negligence against Simon and Allied, lawyers have now asked the court to allow the jury to find in favour of both companies and determine how much harm was caused by the shooting.

Click here to read the full copy of the wrongful death lawsuit. Attorneys Gregory L. Laker and Max N. Panoff are representing the families. Laker previously represented other victims of the mass shooting in which Simon was accused of failing to provide safety.

Simon’s Security Issues

Over the course of six months in 2022 and early 2023, there were three separate shootings at Simon Mall properties in the Indy area.

In late December 2022, Greenwood police said a group of people got into a shooting in the parking lot of Greenwood Park Mall. No one was shot, but the shooting sparked false rumors of an active shooter and led to mass panic during the busy Christmas shopping season.

Then, on January 3, 2023, two teenagers were wounded in a shooting at Simon’s Castleton Square Mall after a parking lot dispute over identical cars. Michael Mason Jr., 16, ultimately died from his injuries.

During this time, FOX59/CBS4 reached out to Simon Property Group multiple times to ask questions about security at the mall, but each time the company either refused to answer or simply ignored the questions.