Family files lawsuit against Circle K employee who shot, killed their relative in May

Updated: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:47 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Legal action is being taken by the family of a man who was shot and killed by a Circle K employee.

The shooting took place in May, now the victim’s family announced several lawsuits seeking justice and millions in damages.

The big question Marvell Locke’s family has is why the Circle K employee is not facing a harsher punishment.

The firm handling the case says what happened to Locke is unlawful and unjustified and the killing of black lives must stop.

“On May 19th of this year on the parking lot of the Circle K on Highway 64 in Cordova, Marvell Locke was shot and killed by the store clerk,” said Howard Manis, managing partner, The Cochran Firm.

According to the affidavit, store footage shows Marvell Locke asking the clerk, Nicholas Vitatoe, to clean the Circle K lot.

Vitatoe tells Locke to leave the property, but he doesn’t, so Vitatoe calls police and texts his manager.

Moments later, Vitatoe walks from behind the counter and is overheard on surveillance saying he was not going to wait for police and will take care of this himself.

Vitatoe walks out of camera view and the sound of a gunshot is heard. Vitatoe is then seen placing a black handgun on the counter.

He was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

“Unjustified killing of black men and women must stop. I call upon the district attorney to seek an indictment that more accurately reflects the significant criminal conduct displayed by Mr. Vitatoe,” said Manis.

Filled with emotions, Locke’s daughter shared a few words.

“We have been very devastated after my daddy’s murder, today we are seeking out justice,” said Francheskia Locke.

The lawsuit names Circle K, Mac’s Convenience Stores and Nicholas Vitatoe.

In the affidavit Vitatoe states that was not the first time he and Locke had come in contact.

Attorney Manis says Locke suffered from mental health issues, and previous encounters don’t justify his killing.

“Citizens who believe that is the proper justice should not be free to walk amongst us without the fear that they may do this again,” said Manis.

The lawsuit seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and $25 million for punitive damages.

WMC has reached out to the firm representing Vitatoe. We have yet to hear back.

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