Saleni Rojas Duran Shot During Fight at Rancho Del Sol Rodeo Arena near De Kalb, TX
De Kalb, TX -- On September 22, 2019, 21-year-old Saleni Rojas Duran was seriously injured in a shooting incident at a concert near De Kalb.
According to deputies with the Bowie County Sheriff's Office, the incident happened around 10:45 p.m. at the Rancho Del Sol rodeo arena, located off FM 992. Investigators say an altercation broke out between some attendants of the concert, surrounded by hundreds of other people at the show. During the fight, suspect Pedro Sepulvada drew a handgun and fired several rounds into the crowd.
Duran was shot once in the chest during the incident. She was transported to St. Michael's Hospital in Texarkana and was listed in stable condition.
Sepulvada was arrested charged with aggravated assault after the shooting.
People sometimes ask me if venues where violence happens are at all responsible for the resulting injuries in the eyes of the law. It varies, but generally it depends on whether the incident could have been foreseen or prevented. The nature of venues that serve alcohol (and I have a feeling a rodeo and concert venue like Rancho Del Sol does) means that sometimes things get ugly and people fight, but that doesn't mean they get to simply shrug it off as an unfortunate part of doing business.
Under premises liability law, property owners have a responsibility to their guests to seek out and address hazards on their properties. For nightlife businesses like bars, clubs, and music venues, fighting is a foreseeable risk. It doesn't always get out of hand to the point of shots fired, but regardless, some types of businesses have to be prepared to prevent and stop those incidents.
When fights break out, the owners of such businesses are required to take steps to stop them and to prevent future problems. That could include hiring more security guards, incorporating metal detectors, or installing surveillance cameras, among other steps. If they do nothing, however, then they may be liable for any injuries resulting from future fights they didn't stop. Rancho Del Sol may have bouncers and cameras, but they may be inadequate if someone fired into the crowd at a show.
It's not clear yet if the fight at Rancho Del Sol could have been predicted. Without knowing all the details, it's hard to say exactly why someone may have resorted to that level of violence. With that said, it's troubling that it managed to escalate so far without intervention from staff equipped to stop it. It's important to look into what steps--if any--the venue took or could have taken to prevent this incident.
--Grossman Law Offices