Assault Suit Filed Against Guard Involved In Fatal Shooting
Car in which Adam Villegas sat before the shooting
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A lawsuit raises new questions about a security guard Metro police said shot and killed a man in a Nipper's Corner parking lot.
Police did not charge Jeremy Holmes, but investigators question whether the shooting was justified.
The shooting happened on May 16, but on the day before a Nashville man filed a lawsuit against Holmes. The suit claims the security guard attacked the man for no reason.
Holmes told police in May that he got into an argument with Adam Villegas, who was sitting inside a parked car. Villegas was a patron of Marathon Sports Bar, which closed at 3 a.m.
Holmes allegedly ordered Villegas to leave the parking lot. When Villegas didn't immediately comply, the pair argued and Holmes walked toward the rear of the car when Villegas reportedly started to move the car. Holmes reportedly ordered him to stop and when Villegas failed to do so, Holmes shot him. He struck Villegas in the neck. Villegas died at the scene.
"Mr. Holmes is telling us in the interview that he felt threatened by the car, that he thought he would be struck by the vehicle," said Metro police spokesman Don Aaron in May. "Again, police are trying to understand his perception of a threat. "
Although charges have not been filed in the case, detectives question him self-defense story. The district attorney's office is investigating the case.
It turns out that this isn't the first time Holmes has come under fire as a security guard.
On May 15, Robert Meeks filed a civil lawsuit against Holmes for an incident that happened on July 4, 2007. Meeks said the security guard was on duty near a truck parking lot when he ordered him to move his car. Meeks said without warning Holmes attacked him. Meeks said while handcuffed Holmes threatened and assaulted him.
"This is going to be a very interesting case," said Jim Todd, a former prosecutor.
The two cases appear similar, but Todd said the July 4 incident may not be included in a criminal case if Holmes is charged.
"Prior bad acts, which are what this would be labeled as, are not admissible to show that somebody is a bad person," Todd said.
While there are exceptions, Todd said prosecutors would have a hard time linking the two incidents in front of a jury.
"The court is going to look very cautiously on that because they don't want the jury to convict on a homicide simply because he has a disposition of having a hot temper," Todd said.
The civil case could still play a big role in the shooting because a grand jury is soon expected to take the case into consideration. When that happens, detectives will be allowed to tell the grand jury about the 2007 incident. The civil case against Holmes is still pending.
The Meeks family is seeking payment for damages from Holmes and his employers, but the suit does not include a dollar amount.