The owner of a Northwest Baltimore 7-Eleven who allegedly shot and killed a man after chasing after him from the store in a car last year was sued for $4 million along with the Southland Corp. yesterday by the dead man's parents.
Andre L. Burton, a 24-year-old barber, was fatally shot in the back on July 24, about three blocks from the 7-Eleven store in the 6400 block of Reisterstown Road. Police arrested the store's owner, 50-year-old John Howard Johnson of Cockeysville, about an hour later at a nearby fast-food restaurant.
The suit was filed in Baltimore Circuit Court by Mr. Burton's parents, Linwood Burton of the 1300 block of N. Monroe St. and Mary Burton of the 5800 block of Gist Ave. It alleged that Mr. Johnson "erroneously believed that the deceased had taken a package of cookies or candy without paying" for it, and took a gun in pursuing the man.
According to a police account of the incident, Mr. Johnson, in his silver 1987 Mercedes, caught up with Mr. Burton near the intersection of Strathmore Avenue and Reisterstown Road, ordered the man into the car and allegedly fired a warning shot in the air when he did not comply, police said.
Police said Mr. Burton then got into the car but jumped out and ran toward the Auto Glo Body Shop in the 6100 block of Reisterstown Road, collapsing inside its bay doors with a gunshot wound.
Mr. Johnson, who was charged with first-degree murder and a handgun offense, is free on a $50,000 property bond. He is scheduled for trial in Baltimore Circuit Court July 29.
The suit against Mr. Johnson and Southland Corp., which owns 7-Eleven, alleges that the shooting was a "willful, deliberate, premeditated and malicious act," and seeks $2 million each in compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Mr. Burton's estate.
William L. Kirk, the lawyer for the Burtons, said the suit was filed before Mr. Johnson's trial because of a one-year statute of limitations on the civil action.