The suit by Jody and Charles Lombardo says owners of Pooh’s Corner, 6023 Virginia Avenue, failed to provide a guard, surveillance or a secure entry system and didn’t prevent armed patrons from drinking.
“My mother said she was safe at Pooh’s Corner bar, unaware of the lack of security and violent history that took place in that bar,” Jody Lombardo said in an emailed statement. She added, “If Pooh’s Corner bar had proper security put in place after past shootings and numerous violent incidents, our mother would still be alive.”
The suit, filed Nov. 14 in St. Louis Circuit Court, names the bar, owners Debra and Leonard King and S&K Holdings Inc. The Kings could not be reached for comment.
Derreaun Davis, Corey Wade and at least one other man burst in shortly before 11 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2014, and ordered everyone to the floor, police said. One robber fired a shot into the ceiling and a shootout followed.
The Lombardos’ mother, Diana Lawrence, 63, was hit in the head and died the next day. Three others, including retired St. Louis Officer Danny Atkins, were wounded.
Atkins had been drinking at the bar and shot and wounded Davis and Wade, who are now serving two consecutive life sentences with the possibility of parole.
The suit claims Atkins was “visibly intoxicated” and that Pooh’s should not have served him knowing he was armed. Atkins could not be reached for comment.
Debra King has credited Atkins with saving lives, saying in 2014: “I do believe had he not been there, everyone would be dead.”
Police were called to the bar 44 times from 2004-14 for incidents including thefts, fights, burglary, assault and arson, the suit claims. It also mentions an attempted holdup in 2008, when Atkins was bartending and shot one of two robbers.
Jody Lombardo is the mother of Nicholas Gilbert, 27, who died in police custody in December 2015 after struggling with St. Louis officers in a holding cell at department’s Central Patrol Division. She and the man’s father have filed a federal lawsuit over that, claiming the department and 10 officers were responsible for Gilbert’s death.