French Montana facing 2 civil lawsuits in Miami-Dade

Man left paralyzed after Jan. 5. shooting injured 10 people

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY – French Montana is facing two civil lawsuits for negligence over a shooting that occurred in January during the filming of a music video in Miami Gardens.

The shooting occurred at 8 p.m. on Jan. 5. at a shopping plaza that is home to The Licking restaurant during a music video shoot for Moroccan-American rapper French Montana and New Orleans-based rapper Rob49.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said on Jan. 6. that a total of 10 people were injured in the shooting, four of who were “self-transported” to local hospitals. Fire rescue transported the remaining six victims by ground and air rescue to local trauma centers.

According to court records, Carlos Wilkerson Jr., a video director who was hired for the shoot outside The Licking, filed the suit Monday in a Miami-Dade court against the rapper whose real name is Karim Kharbouch, after saying he was left paralyzed from the shooting.

Wilkerson’s family told Local 10 News that they are heartbroken over the incident.

“We trusted that our son would be in a safe environment and that didn’t happen,” said Shanta Bonius, Wilkerson’s mother. “Every day, every hour, every minute it’s a new challenge for him and we’re having to watch it and it hurts. It hurts because we wish we could fix it.”

Another one of the shooting victims was Carl Leon, who runs his own media company and was wrapping up a conversation with French Montana when shots rang out.

“When I first got there they were about finished shooting the scene,” Leon told Local 10 News after the shooting. “As we were talking, that’s when everything went down.”

Court records said Leon has retained attorney Josiah Graham, who says he’s looking into whether there was any negligence on the part of French Montana, The Licking or any other entity.

Leon said he was shot multiple times, with a bullet grazing his ear, narrowly missing a clear shot to his head, and others striking him in the hand and abdomen.

Leon is seeking damages beyond $50,000, excluding attorney’s fees and costs, according to court records.

Local rapper Ced Mogul said New Orleans rapper Rob49 was among the group injured. He said a conflict over a Rolex and cell phone robbery caused terrifying mayhem. He said there were about 100 gathered when an assault rifle was fired 10 to 15 times and then there were people crying.

Leon’s lawsuit alleges that French Montana knew or should have known about possible violence at the video shoot because of “attempts to harm or rob high-net worth, highly visible individuals of their expensive possessions.”

Graham says the rapper failed to get the proper permits for a video shoot, hire security, alert authorities and that the restaurant is just as responsible.

Restaurant managers said they had no prior knowledge of the ill-fated music video shoot.

“We were not aware of a video being filmed and found out last minute French Montana was shooting a scene in the back parking lot,” The Licking management said in a statement to Local 10 News. “We have no idea what actually took place. The Licking restaurant has nothing to do with the incident and has given police the necessary footage requested.”

“We, unfortunately, were at the wrong place, at the wrong time,” Montana tweeted in a statement adding that he was celebrating the release of his sixth installment of the “Coke Boys” with friends.

So far, no one has been arrested in connection to the shooting.

About the Authors:

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.