Alachua County Jury Awards $7.5 Million to Family of Bobby Hopkins Jr., Victim of Fatal Shooting at Local Car Wash

Gainesville, Florida – An Alachua County jury has awarded $7.5 million to the family of Bobby Hopkins Jr., who was fatally shot at the Swamp Car Wash in May 2021. The verdict was reached on Wednesday.

The Hopkins family filed a lawsuit against the car wash in 2022, claiming that the owners should have implemented better customer protection measures due to the presence of violence in the surrounding neighborhood. The lawsuit argued that the car wash should have installed security cameras, a fence, and a gate to safeguard customers from criminal activity.

However, Kokomo Key Properties Inc., the owner of the car wash, countered the claim by stating that Hopkins himself engaged in criminal activity on the premises, thus assuming liability for his own actions.

After careful deliberation, the jury assigned 75% of the fault to the Swamp Car Wash and 25% of the fault to Hopkins. As a result, each of Hopkins’ two children will receive $3.75 million from the $7.5 million settlement.

The shooter, Eugene Patrick, was charged with second-degree murder and subsequently found guilty. In May 2023, he was sentenced for his crimes.

The outcome of this case emphasizes the importance of addressing safety concerns in public spaces. The jury’s decision reflects a recognition that businesses have a responsibility to implement appropriate security measures to protect their customers.

While this verdict provides closure to the Hopkins family, it also serves as a precedent for similar cases in the future. Establishments that fail to prioritize customer safety may face significant legal consequences.

In summary, a jury in Alachua County awarded $7.5 million to the family of Bobby Hopkins Jr., who was shot and killed at the Swamp Car Wash. The car wash was found 75% at fault, with Hopkins being assigned 25% of the blame. Eugene Patrick, the shooter, was charged and convicted of second-degree murder. This case highlights the importance of ensuring customer safety and may have implications for businesses facing similar lawsuits in the future.