Local News

Company Sued In Fatal N.C. State Tailgate Shooting

Posted September 14, 2006

— The families of two men killed in a confrontation outside a North Carolina State University football game in 2004 have sued a parking-lot management company, alleging the company's lack of security led to the deaths.

Marine 2nd Lt. Brett Harman of Park Ridge, Ill., and his friend, Chicago businessman Kevin McCann, were shot to death during a tailgate gathering outside Carter-Finley Stadium on Sept. 4, 2004.

McLaurin Parking Co. has operated lots outside the stadium for more than a decade, vice president Stephen McLaurin said.

But in separate lawsuits filed Sept. 1 in Durham County Superior Court, relatives of Harman and McCann allege the parking company was negligent in its supervision and security of the area before the 2004 football season opener.

"McLaurin was delegated a great deal of responsibility in operating the area where the parking was taking place. What you really have is that people come to that parking lot with a reasonable expectation that steps will be taken to ensure their security. From our investigation, there was between very little and none of that in this case," said Tom Comerford, a Winston-Salem lawyer representing the McCann and Harman families.

Companion claims against the state have been filed with the state Industrial Commission.

Tim Wayne Johnson was convicted in Wake County Superior Court last year of both first-degree and second-degree murder in the two slayings and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

His brother, Tony Harrell Johnson, received a 12-year sentence after pleading guilty to lesser felonies. He will serve that time after completing a 16-year sentence for home invasion and kidnapping.

According to testimony in Tim Johnson's trial last year, Tony Johnson drove erratically through a crowded parking lot, nearly hitting tailgating fans. That prompted McCann and Harman to approach his car and demand that he slow down. McCann and Tony Johnson had a brief scuffle.

Tony Johnson left, then returned with his brother, who pulled out a gun. McCann charged at him. The gunman first shot Harman, and after being grabbed by McCann, swung around and shot him in the temple.

"McLaurin Parking Co. has no involvement in the event that led to the tragedy. We are disappointed that an unfounded lawsuit has been filed against our company concerning these events," Stephen McLaurin said in a prepared statement.

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