Cameo Night Club victim says shooting made him think about 'how precious life is'

8 victims filed lawsuit against club, owner

CINCINNATI -- Jarrod Givens was out for an evening of fun with his cousins at Cameo Night Club the night someone fired more than 20 shots, killing one person and injuring 16 others.

Givens dropped to the floor as soon as he heard gunfire, but he was hit five times -- twice in the arm, twice in the leg and once in the chest. He said he thought about his daughter at home and wondered if he’d ever make it back to her.

The night that was supposed to celebrate his cousin’s birthday had turned into the nation’s largest mass shooting in 2017. One other person later died from their injuries. 

Now, Givens is one of eight plaintiffs involved in a lawsuit against Cameo Night Club, its owner and the property owner.

The lawsuit, filed May 25, requests the defendants pay more than $25,000 for each individual who’s suffered bodily injury, mental anguish and severe medical expenses.

The victims’ attorney, Michael Wright, said the lawsuit’s purpose is not only to get justice for those who were injured, it’s also to reinforce the importance of safety for nightclubs nationwide.

"We are trying to force these clubs to operate and change their security measures,” Wright said. “They need adequate security measures to prevent this from happening to other folks.”

Seven of the eight plaintiffs were named by police as being among the 17 people hit by gunfire in the March 26 shooting. One of the plaintiffs, Rodney Espy, was shot in the head. He is still in the hospital.

Khristian Howell, another plaintiff in the lawsuit, said he tried to escape the crowded club the night of the shooting. From the patio, he could see people scaling the nightclub’s privacy fences.

Howell was shot four times that night, and he is still going to therapy to try to correct his gait.

“My stride, my walk ain't right, so I have to get accustomed to it and pray for better days,” Howell said.

Givens said the shooting has had a profound impact on several aspects of his life.

"It's put a lot of different things in perspective for me now in terms of how I carry myself, where I go, and just my overall way of thinking how precious life is,” Givens said.

The lawsuit alleges Cameo Night Club had three entrances with limited security if patrons paid a higher cover fee.

"Cameo's owners were aware and complicit in the creation of security risks to their business and patrons," the lawsuit states.

Club owner Julian Rodgers has previously denied that there was a side entrance. 

The club has since closed.

The trial for Cornell Beckley, the nightclub shooting suspect, is set to begin Nov. 1.

Police ask anyone with information in the nightclub shooting to contact Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.

For more coverage on the Cameo Night Club shooting, visit WCPO.com/Cameo.

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