Family of Carnival Cruise Ship Passenger Killed In St. Thomas Shootout Sues Cruise Line

MIAMI, FL— June 2 2011 – Claiming that Carnival Cruise Lines failed to consider the potential dangers faced by travelers venturing around the island of St. Thomas, where there has been an upsurge of violence over the last few years, the family of a cruise ship passenger who was shot and killed on vacation last year filed a lawsuit against the cruise line. According to information provided by USA Today, a 14-year-old girl suffered a fatal bullet wound when gang-related gunfire broke out as she was riding in an open-air “safari bus.”

Reports indicated the young teen and her family boarded the 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory so they could travel to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. However, as the family was apparently leaving the popular Coki Point beach in an open-air safari cab, a gang-related shootout suddenly broke out. The 14-year-old Puerto Rican girl, who was identified as Liz Marie Perez Chaparro, suffered a fatal gunshot wound during the outburst of gang violence.

Additionally, 18-year-old St. Thomas man Shaheel Joseph sustained a bullet wound to the back of the head, which proved fatal at the scene. One additional Carnival cruise ship passenger apparently sustained minor injuries in the gang shootout.

While St. Thomas authorities recently charged a local resident with two counts of murder in connection with the fatal shooting, the teenage ship passenger’s family maintained that Carnival Cruise Lines should have been aware of the high risk of violence on the island.

Past reports suggested the 2009 homicide rate in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where there is a population of approximately 110,000, was about 10 times as high as the homicide rate in the United States, in which there was an average of five murders per 100,000 population.

About the Miami crime victim attorneys and cruise ship injury lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A.

With four decades of experience litigating the multifaceted personal injury and wrongful death claims of accident victims, as well as victims of crimes, which include but are not limited to murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, rape, sexual assault, assault and battery, stalking, and sexual molestation, the knowledgeable Florida personal injury lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz are dedicated to protecting the rights of these individuals and fighting to provide them with the compensation they deserve. Working closely with the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Miami injury attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. strive to provide justice to crime victims and those who suffer serious injury in a wide variety of car crashes, boat wrecks and cruise ship accidents.

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