The widow and child of an Illinois truck driver killed by a security guard at Love’s new truck stop on Edwin C. Moses Blvd. has filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against the guard, the security company and Love’s.
Goran Sojic, 48, died Dec. 8 when 25-year-old security guard Joshua Karp fired his gun, twice hitting Sojic, who was not armed. Ruza Sojic makes several allegations, including that Karp acted “in an irresponsible, unreasonable and unnecessary manner” in her husband’s death.
The suit was originally filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court but subsequently moved this week into U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The suit names as defendants Karp, Aron Security Inc., which operates as Arrow Security, and Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores Inc.
“We feel pretty confident that the facts will bear out that Mr. Karp acted inappropriately and that both Love’s and ARON Security were negligent and that there’s liability that a man needlessly died that night,” said one of Sojic’s Dayton-based attorneys, Micah Siegal.
Dayton police have said witnesses told them that Sojic, who operated his own rig, was “acting erratically” and that he aggressively approached Karp.
“(That) came as a complete shock to his widow and his daughter,” Siegel said. “He is not an erratic person by nature or otherwise… . Mr. Sojic was a religious man, a real even-keeled kind of guy.”
Two of three 911 calls coming in at 7:38 that night obtained by the Dayton Daily News mentions a caller saying that Love’s was being robbed. One caller who identified himself as a store manager told a dispatcher: “The security guard has fired at someone. I need assistance immediately.” The caller added that, at first, no one was applying a clean, dry cloth to the wounds and that the man who was shot was “not speaking English.”
Sigel said Sojic was absolutely not robbing the store and that “there is no evidence that this tragedy was (the) result of anything of the sort.”
Attorneys for Karp, Aron and Love’s did not return messages seeking comment. In court filings, the defendants denied the plaintiff’s allegations.
“We’re still waiting on reports,” Dayton police Sgt. Richard Blommel said of the ongoing criminal investigation. “We need reports before we go to the prosecutor’s office.”
Asked why the lawsuit was filed this soon after Sojic died, Siegal said: “Very often in these sorts of cases, the trail goes cold quickly. Documents disappear, video recordings disappear. So we wanted to put everyone on notice very quickly and act aggressively.”
The suit alleges Karp was not properly licensed to possess a firearm and that Karp “suddenly and without substantial justification, discharged his firearm at least two times,” hitting Sojic in the chest and arm.
The lawsuit alleges assault and battery, negligence, reckless conduct and wrongful death and seeks compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $25,000.
Karp’s criminal defense attorney, Jon Paul Rion, said in December that his client is saddened by the whole event.
“He feels like anyone else would after a traumatic experience such as this,” Rion said then. “It’s the last thing anyone ever wants to do to another person. He took a voluntary leave from work so he could come to a deeper understanding of what happened and how to handle it.”