It’s a part of town that’s known for a lot of crimes, and for one Albuquerque man, he became a victim during a pit stop at a gas station.
He’s suing that gas station, claiming they should have done more to protect him, knowing their business is located in an unsafe area.
“He actually was just there with a friend who was buying lottery tickets. He was just there with a friend,” said attorney Heather Hansen.
Hansen is the attorney for Joseph Laycock. She says her client made a pit stop at the Circle K near Central and San Mateo, a few days after Christmas in 2016.
That’s when the unexpected happened.
“He was brutally attacked by an unknown perpetrator on the premises of Circle K,” she said.
The attack left him with cognitive issues.
“Mr. Laycock incurred massive head injuries as a result of this attack. Life changing injuries and he’s going to need care for the rest of his life,” Hansen said.
Now, he’s suing Circle K and Shell, stating they should have a security guard, given the location.
“Circle K either knew or should’ve known about the number of incidents, violent incidents, that were happening. Not just in their premises, but in that area,” said Hansen.
Business owners in the area say they agree the area has seen its fair share of problems.
“I’ve seen AK’s, I’ve seen machine gun fire right behind my building,” said Richard Hess.
Hess owns Grapevine Furniture, just a few blocks from the Circle K. He says he works hard to keep his business and customers safe, and he believes his neighbors should do the same.
“It’s tough to keep your customers safe, but you have to do something,” he said.
For Hansen, she hopes this will be a learning lesson for business owners in the area.
“Our hope in this case and in all of our cases that are similar to this, is to send a message to the corporation to do better,” Hansen said.
As of May 14, Albuquerque Police say for this month alone, they have already had 19 service calls to this gas station and convenient store.
The city can’t force a store to hire security, but APD does offer what’s called ‘Chief’s Overtime,’ where a business can pay to have a police officer stationed there.
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this web story, we stated Joseph Laycock was paralyzed from the attack. Laycock actually suffered brain issues from the attack. We apologize for the error.