Widow of shooting victim sues convenience store where robbery occurred

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Feb. 4, 2009, 5:27am

GALVESTON – The family of a 38-year-old Galveston electrician who was killed during an armed robbery of a local convenience store in February 2007 is seeking damages from the business, recent court documents say.

Macrina Arteaga of Mexico, the widow of Carlos Baeza, filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the couple's four children against Luke's Supermarket & Deli in Galveston County District Court on Jan. 29.

Arteaga claims the defendant failed to provide adequate security, which could have averted the alleged Feb. 1 incident.

Baeza was buying a burrito and black coffee for breakfast when two unidentified men in black hooded sweatshirts reportedly entered the store, located in the 8200 block of Stewart Road on the city's West End. The men held the clerk at gunpoint with an AK-47 rifle, according to the complaint.

Court papers say Baeza was unaware of the events transpiring within his vicinity.

"Unbeknownst to Carlos Baeza, two armed robbers were in the process of leaving the Luke's Supermarket & Deli," the original petition says. "As (Carlos) Baeza opened the door to the business, one or both of the robbers shot him to death."

The decadent was apparently shot three times; he died at the scene.

A Feb. 2, 2007 article in The Galveston County Daily News reported that the alleged homicide was recorded on a black and white video camera.

A store employee told The Galveston County Daily News moments after Baeza's death that the incident marked the second time in eight years the business was robbed, and it was the first time any shots were fired.

The suit faults Luke's for negligence and inadequate security, blaming the defendant for not preventing the robbers from accessing the premises.

Arteaga, who is represented by Houston attorney Eric D. Nielsen of the Nielsen Law Firm PC, intends to recover restitution for a loss of consortium, mental anguish, and funeral and burial expenses.

She also pursues compensation for the offspring's losses.
Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Wayne Mallia is presiding over the case.

Case No. 09CV0117

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