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Man Sues Rapper French Montana, The Licking Restaurant After Miami Gardens Shooting

NBC Miami 3/21/2023 NBC 6
© Provided by NBC Miami

One of the men who was injured during a January mass shooting outside of a Miami Gardens restaurant during a video shoot for rapper French Montana has filed a lawsuit.

Carlos Wilkerson Jr., a video director who family members said was hired for the shoot outside The Licking on January 5, filed the suit Monday in a Miami-Dade court against the rapper - whose real name is Karim Kharboch - as well as the restaurant, the plaza where the shooting took place and Montana's record label Coke Boys Records.

"I think the fact that no one has taken ownership for what took place hurts," his mother, Shanta Bonius, said Tuesday. "Most everyone has gone on with their lives since this happened. But we haven't."

After the shooting, French Montana tweeted that he was in Miami celebrating the release of his CB6 mix tape with friends at a local restaurant.

"We unfortunately were at the wrong place at the wrong time when an incident took place that left people hurt. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families," the rapper tweeted.

The attorneys for the victims took issue with the rapper saying he was “at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In the lawsuit, Wilkerson claimed Montana's "failure to get the necessary permits required by the City of Miami Gardens prior to engaging in music video production, which would have ensured that proper police presence and security would be present" was a factor in the incident taking place.

"It is no secret that when you cut corners, people get hurt and lives are changed forever," attorney Marwan Porter said during a news conference. "They did not take basic measures to ensure that the shoot would go safe and smoothly."

According to police, the city of Miami Gardens requires a permit for events like the music video that was organized at The Licking.

It also claimed the restaurant, located in the 17600 block of Northwest 27th Avenue, "failed to provide for adequate security" and did not require the record label or Montana to do so as well.

The lawsuit is asking for a jury trial in the case.

"French Montana and The Licking restaurant cooked up a recipe for disaster," Porter said.

The owner of Gayle’s Plaza, Monica Gayle, told NBC 6 that the lease would require any tenant to get written consent for something like this. She said she didn’t get any sort of notice until she saw it on the news. Gayle told NBC 6 she is not responsible since she was not made aware but said she will plan to get an attorney.

Attorney Josiah Graham represents Carl Leon, who was also injured in the shooting. He said he has filed a similar lawsuit against the same entities.

Police said 10 people were shot that night, including Wilkerson. Miami Gardens Police said an altercation started in a different location and eventually ended at the restaurant, where the shooting happened.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue reported that of the 10 injured, four took themselves to the hospital and six were transported by ground and by air. 

Wilkerson was placed on a ventilator after the shooting and suffered catastrophic damage to his spine and is paralyzed from the waist down, his parents said. They've had to temporarily move to Miami and don't plan on leaving until they can get their son back home to Louisiana.

"We trust and believe he'll come out of this because he's strong,” mother Shanta Bonius told NBC 6 in January.

"He’s fighting and pushing through, and he’s got strength but he’s going to need a lot of help," father Clarence Bonius said.

Police have not yet made any arrests in this case and the incident remains under investigation as police seek more information.

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