Mother of slaying victim sues killer's employers


The mother of a 21-year-old Columbia man shot to death in 1992 has filed a $15 million lawsuit against the companies that employed the convicted killer at the apartment complex where both men lived and worked.

Denise G. Fields, of no fixed address, claims in the suit filed May 31 that the companies were negligent in hiring "a violent and unsuitable" man to work as a groundskeeper at the Beeches Farm complex in the Kings Contrivance village.

Ms. Fields' son, Lawrence Rico Evans III, was killed when he was shot in the chest during a fight with Dwayne Romaine Briggs, 35, on June 9, 1992. Briggs is serving a 25-year prison term after pleading guilty last year to second-degree murder.

The suit, filed in Howard Circuit Court, lists the defendants as Eden Oxford Associates of Landover, the complex's owner; NHP Management Co., a Washington firm that manages the complex; and Oxford Management Co., a Bethesda company that managed the complex at the time of the shooting and later merged with NHP.

The companies could not be reached for comment.

Ms. Fields contends in the suit that the companies failed to provide her son with a safe place to live and work. The suit also asserts that the companies knew Briggs kept handguns and had a violent history.

In addition to Ms. Fields, the suit was filed on behalf of Mr. Evans' father, Lawrence Rico Evans Jr., whose address is unknown; and Mr. Evans' daughters, a 2-year-old, of Columbia, and a 5-year-old, of Washington.

Wounded store worker has condition upgraded

Hospital officials have upgraded the condition of one of two furniture outlet employees shot by robbers in Columbia on Sunday, but Howard County police said yesterday that the two gunmen still were at large.

Montgomery Fitzgerald Walker, 24, of Silver Spring was upgraded from critical to fair condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center yesterday. The second victim, Arthur Thomas Weigle, 37, of Temple Hills, remained in serious condition, a hospital spokesman said.

The shooting took place shortly after the two men closed the Scan furniture outlet in the 9400 block of Gerwig Lane in Owen Brown about 5 p.m. Sunday and were surprised by two masked robbers. Police said the robbers ordered them to lie on the floor, panicked when an alarm went off, shot them and ran.


* Long Reach: 6300 block of Tamar Drive: A vandal broke into a vacant house by prying open a sliding glass door and sprayed the paint on the walls Monday, police said.

* Owen Brown: 6600 block of Dobbin Road: A car thief apparently towed a silver 1984 Chevrolet Camaro with Maryland tags ZAK015 from the J & J Auto Body shop where it awaited repairs Friday or Saturday.

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