Two wounded in shooting sue Independence Center’s operator

Two shoppers who were injured in a shooting a year ago at Independence Center have sued the mall’s operator.

Dilon Yates and Rochelle Moore, wounded in the Jan. 14, 2012, incident, claim the company failed to have adequate, trained security at the mall.

The lawsuit said one security guard “was found hiding in a clothing rack at Dillard’s after the shooting.”

The lawsuit also maintains that a security officer wasn’t present at the scene until well after Independence police arrived.

A spokesman for the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, which operates the mall, said he would not discuss litigation.

Daniel Baylard, a Blue Springs lawyer who is representing the plaintiffs, said Yates and Moore were bringing the lawsuit not only to obtain financial assistance with their medical bills but to make the mall a safer place.

The mall’s operator should have done more to prevent an assault described in the lawsuit as “predictable based upon previous crimes occurring on the premises and around the Independence Center premises,” the lawsuit said.

Last week, Yates and Moore testified in the jury trial of Eric Bratton, 25, who was charged in the shooting. One bullet hit Yates in the leg. Another struck Moore’s foot.

The jury found Bratton guilty on two counts each of second-degree assault and armed criminal action. He is to be sentenced Feb. 14.

The shooting occurred on a busy Saturday afternoon and sent shoppers and employees running for cover.