A 39-year-old Frankford father of two was shot in the lower back while tied down during a home invasion robbery early Wednesday morning, reports NBC 10 Philadelphia. The man's two children, ages 8 and 12 were present and witnessed their father being bound and shot. Another witness, a 51-year-old man who was also tied down, suffered a seizure. Both of the victims are currently receiving treatment at the hospital.
In addition to the obvious criminal issues, there will be civil issues of battery and trespassing, and this home invasion robbery could bring rise to an intentional infliction of emotional distress lawsuit.
The requirements for such a lawsuit are that the aggressors must have caused emotional distress either intentionally or through negligent conduct. Their conduct must also have been extreme and outrageous. Slapping someone might or might not qualify, but shooting someone who is tied down in front of their children probably would.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has stated that for cases like this, where the harm is caused by watching the aggressors attack another person, if the witnesses are family members, severe emotional trauma is sufficient. If the person witnessing is not family, then they must have some physical symptom as well. This is likely because family tend to have stronger bonds, which would cause more emotional distress than merely witnessing a stranger's pain.
With these children, the trauma from having people break into your home, bound you and your family, and then shoot your father in front of you is unspeakable. At this point, it is unclear if the man who suffered a seizure was a member of the victim's family.
In any case, it is unclear whether the Frankford father or his two children would actually proceed with a lawsuit. There are considerations of whether the perpetrators actually own anything that can be recovered in a lawsuit. In addition, reliving the experience through a trial and everything leading up to it would probably not be worth whatever they could get out of the two robbers' bank accounts.
Also, as of Wednesday evening, the two suspects were still at large, so please keep an eye out.
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