Family files lawsuit against Memphis apartment complex where child was killed, records show

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A family is demanding more safety measures at a Memphis apartment complex after their child was murdered last fall.

Jordyn Washington, 8, was staying with her grandmother at the Highland Chateau Apartments when a gunman opened fire into the parking lot.

Now the family is acting, in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit.

“She was very enthusiastic, super smart, happy all the time,” said Jasen Washington describing his daughter Jordyn.

In a wrongful death lawsuit against Highland Chateau Apartments and Multi-South Management Services LLC., Washington’s attorneys claim the apartment complex wasn’t secure enough despite recent crime.

“It was horrifying you know what I mean. It was the worst day of my life,” said Washington.

In the lawsuit, attorneys claim the apartment “failed to fulfill their duty to use reasonable care and take adequate and reasonable precautions and measures to protect the tenants.”

“Just the way they’re supposed to keep up air conditioning, clean water, no mold, heating, they also have a duty to keep the property reasonably safe,” said Aaron Neglia, the family’s attorney. “Whether that’s a security company, whether that’s an armed security, whether that’s a gate guard, property being fenced in.”

Police say Cedric Conley opened fire with an assault rifle into the parking lot at the Highland Chateau Apartments on November 22. Jordyn was hit by one of those bullets in a nearby unit.

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Washington’s attorneys say they don’t know if Conley was a resident there but they say he had access to an apartment even though he had a criminal past.

FOX13 Investigator Kirstin Garriss emailed and called Highland Chateau Apartments and Multi-South Management Services LLC several times Tuesday afternoon and requested an interview about the lawsuit. Eventually, the company’s attorney told FOX13 they have no comment at this time.

Additionally, Washington’s attorney believes Jordyn would still be alive today if the management had improved security much sooner.

The lawsuit shows there were 46 violent crimes and 103 crimes within the Highland Chateau Apartments and hundreds more within half of mile of the complex just two years before Jordyn’s death.

“What are they doing to stop this and obviously nothing so we have to punish them financially so they think twice about this, saying we don’t want another Jordyn Washington be murdered,” said Neglia. “We want to keep the kids and we want to keep the tenants safe. That’s what we’re here to do we want to make sure this doesn’t happen to another father, mother or grandparent.”

In the lawsuit, the family is requesting $25 million in damages along with $10,000 in funeral costs.

Attorneys say they also want the District Attorney’s office to deem this complex as a public nuisance, so it would only be able to operate under tight restrictions.

Washington was the 31st child to be killed in Memphis in 2020.

Conely is being held without bond in the Shelby County Jail on charges of criminal attempted first-degree murder, four counts of criminal attempted first-degree murder, convicted felon in possession of a handgun and employment of a firearm with the intent to commit a felony.