INDIANAPOLIS — The family of an Indianapolis woman killed by a security guard is suing the troubled housing complex where the shooting took place and the City of Indianapolis.
That complex, Towne and Terrace, is located near 42nd and Post and has been the center of court battles for years.
Jury selection took place Monday for the criminal trial of the security guard accused of murder. At the same time, the victim’s family hopes to find justice in civil court as well.
Sitting in the front seat of her car in late August of 2020, 25-year-old Naytasia Williams was shot and killed by a security guard. Her mother, Tina Williams, still mourns the death of her only child.
“The hard part is just knowing my companionship is not there anymore,” said Tina.
Following the shooting, prosecutors charged the security guard, Melvin Hall Jr., with murder. Hall Jr. had previously been charged with impersonating police.
“It is definitely a reckless and senseless act,” said Tina. “It was just negligence. It was brutality.”
Yet Tina doesn’t just blame Hall Jr. for the death. In the newly filed civil lawsuit, the security company that employed Hall Jr., Superior Tactical Response, as well as the managers of the Towne and Terrace complex and the City of Indianapolis, are accused of failing to maintain a reasonably safe property.
“They did not provide the type of safety the community expects from these companies, and that led to her death,” said civil attorney Tim Rowe.
Although attorneys for the city declined to comment, the city is named in the lawsuit because it owns close to 100 units that are in severe disrepair and has been locked in a legal stalemate with the home owner’s association since 2013 over demolition plans.
During that time, Towne and Terrace has seen lots of crime and violence.
Last year alone, Williams was one of six homicides on the property, along with Zyair Herron, Ronald Morris, Shawn Hicks, Vorn Taylor and Chad Wheat.
Williams’ attorney hopes the civil case saves lives by forcing the city and housing complex to work together to make the area safer.
“Part of the reason we brought this is to bring light to this situation, and hopefully, something like this doesn’t happen again,” said Rowe.
“It would mean a lot just knowing something of this kind could possibly not happen again,” said Tina.
Hall Jr.’s murder trial is set to last the next couple of days. There is no timeline for when the civil trial could begin.