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Smith didn't take the breakup well, she claimed. He "flattened the tires" on her Honda, showed up at her part-time job and "smacked [her] around the face," and stole her cell phone. Smith — who has since been accused by another woman of "repeat violence" and has been convicted of making threatening phone calls — vowed to end Johnson's life, saying, "Bitch, you going to be pushing daisies," she claimed.
Johnson "developed a serious concern" about her stalker and "on several occasions" contacted school officials and security guards to warn they "should keep a look-out for Mr. Smith," according to a claim later filed in Miami-Dade civil court.
The guards — a six-man force then subcontracted from USA Security and each paid an hourly wage ranging from $8.25 to $9.50, according to contracts filed in court — ignored the warnings, Johnson later claimed. In the early morning of September 7, 2002, Smith easily bypassed the vehicle checkpoint by simply walking on to campus. He was a former Florida Memorial guard himself, Johnson explained in court, so he knew of that glaring flaw in campus security.
Smith loitered in Johnson's residency hall for "over an hour" waiting for her "without being confronted by any agents, security personnel, or employees." At 9 a.m., she was pulling into the parking lot when Smith suddenly appeared.
"He swung open the door and was... pulling me out and hitting me in the face," she later recalled under oath. Striking back while trying to escape, she "stumbled out of the car" and passed out, but not before witnessing his final brutal flourish: "I could see his foot stomping my face."
Four of Johnson's teeth were kicked loose. She would require reconstructive surgery to put her upper lip back together.
Convicted of aggravated stalking and battery, Jervon Smith spent 270 days in prison. In May 2004, Phylise Johnson filed suit against Florida Memorial and USA Security alleging negligence for failing to prevent the attack, "staff an adequate number of security guards," or implement "a system... to prevent unauthorized individuals" from entering campus. In November 2005, the suit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
About a year later, Florida Memorial dismissed USA, signing an $800,000-per-year contract with Vanguard Security, according to a news release at the time. Soon enough, the latest company also would find itself in litigious soup stemming from a violent incident on campus.
The night and early morning following Barack Obama's presidential win on November 4, 2008, was one of nearly pure joy on FMU's campus, recalls student Robert, who was then a freshman. But "there were a few ignorant folks who just saw it as another opportunity to get drunk and act rowdy," he says.
Around 2 that morning, according to a police report, Angelia Franklin received an alarming phone call from her niece Ciera Warren, an FMU student. She heard only crying and "No!" being shouted in the background. Angelia woke up her three teenaged children — Jimmy, Joshua, and Keianna — packed them into her car, and headed for the campus.
After being waved through by security guards, who, according to the police report, "stated that they had heard something about a disturbance on campus," the family encountered a "mob" scene in the parking lot outside of Ciera's residence hall — a large group of young men and women "agitated" and chanting. When Keianna got out of the car to find her cousin, she was attacked by a "smaller girl" who began "striking and punching her." When Keianna's 17-year-old brother, Jimmy, jumped out of the car to defend her, "a large crowd of boys surrounded [him] and began to hit and kick him" as his mother screamed in horror. As the smaller girl, now armed with a baseball bat, smashed through the car's front window, another female student threw rocks at the family trapped in the vehicle.
Suddenly, a gunshot rang out. The attackers scattered, and Jimmy was left bleeding on the pavement, shot in the arm. Security guards, who arrived too late to prevent the shooting, only impeded the family's "escape" from campus by snatching her car keys, Angelia Franklin would later claim.
Four men and two women were arrested for the attack. The two female students involved, Melene Lisme and Shon-Ashley Runcie, were expelled. A 20-year-old nonstudent named Job Howard was "positively identified" as shooting Jimmy Franklin and charged with attempted murder.
It was a particularly violent 24 hours on campus. The night after the attack, five males — wearing black bandannas over their faces and brandishing handguns and a crowbar — stormed a student's dorm room and held him at silent gunpoint before making off with his laptop.
In May 2009, Angelia Franklin filed suit against Florida Memorial and Vanguard. Among the claims: The university "should have known that there was a history of criminal activity" at the school.
Thompson, FMU's interim president, declines to comment about the incident, citing "pending litigation."
A few weeks after the shooting, Florida Memorial hired yet another security company, this time going with Pennsylvania-based Allied Barton. Vice president for administration Clarke insists the timing was coincidental: "One had absolutely nothing to do with the other." He declines to explain the reason for the new appointment, except that Allied Barton "has extensive experience with college-age students."