The family of a Westbrook airman have sued the owner of an Arkansas gas station where he was killed during an armed robbery two years ago.
The family of Shawn McKeough Jr., 23, on Thursday filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Summerwood Properties LLC, owner of the Valero Big Red gas station in North Little Rock, where the airman was fatally shot, according to NBC affiliate KARK.
That comes weeks after the last man involved in the robbery, 19-year-old Drequan Lamont Robinson of North Little Rock, pleaded guilty to his role in McKeough’s shooting death.
Robinson, who was 17 at the time, and Darrius Bernard Stewart burst into the West Broadway gas station about 11:38 p.m. on March 15, 2019, brandished guns and ordered two clerks and seven customers onto the floor.
McKeough was in the Valero Big Red with his fiance, then-22-year-old Sarah Terrano. McKeough lunged at Stewart, who was also 17 at the time, but Robinson shot him, killing McKeough instantly.
Robinson, who later confessed to killing McKeough, told police after his arrest that “I didn’t mean for the dude to die.”
The two then fled along with two other men, 18-year-old Keith Keshawn Harris and 19-year-old Keith Lamont Harris Jr., sitting in a getaway car outside.
All four faced capital murder and aggravated robbery charges for their roles in the holdup.
Stewart pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in December 2019 in exchange for a 30-year prison sentence and parole eligibility after 21 years. Keith Keshawn Harris, who was the getaway driver, pleaded aggravated robbery, while Keith Lamont Harris Jr., who only sat in the car’s backseat but knew about the robbery plans, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The brothers will serve 10-year sentences.
Robinson, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated armed robbery in April 2021, will serve up to 60 years in prison. He will become eligible for parole after 42 years.
McKeough’s family allege in their lawsuit that the gas station clerk did not comply with the robbers’ demands, putting the lives of McKeough and six others in jeopardy, according to KARK.
They argued owner of the gas station should have been aware of the robbery risk at convenience stores and ensured employees were properly trained, the Arkansas TV station reported.
The family’s attorney, Hal Cook, said Thursday that McKeough “wouldn’t have been in the position to protect the life of his two friends and the other customers” if the clerk complied with the demands.
“We hope the actions that we have taken today in filing this lawsuit will prevent another family from experiencing similar grief and heartbreak at the loss of a loved one,” Shawn McKeough Sr. said during a virtual press conference.
McKeough was a senior airman assigned to the 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron in North Little Rock. Before coming to Arkansas, he was stationed in Germany, Kuwait and South Korea.