Carjacking at Gunpoint Is no Game, Man Says


SAN DIEGO (CN) – Masked gunmen carjacked a man and held him hostage at gunpoint near the Mexican border, without telling him it was just a simulation staged by three U.S. companies – including his employer, the man claims in court.
     Troy Barber says the March 25, 2013 assault scared him half to death. He says he was cut off and pulled over by an SUV, that masked, armed gunmen jumped from it, banged on the windows of his car and made everyone get out and lie down on the ground at gunpoint.
     “Defendants intended to, and did, provide a seemingly real experience similar to what might be experienced by a U.S. Navy Seal in a terrorist/hostage situation,” Barber says – but they didn’t tell him about it until after they had done it.
     He sued the Special Operations Training Group, the Southern California Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization, and three men: Robert Roy of Special Ops, and Michael Morgan and Scott Cook, of Young Presidents.
     Barber says his employer at the time, Key Events, an event-planning company in San Francisco, sent him to San Diego to help plan a Young Presidents event.
     Young Presidents describes itself on its home page as “the world’s premier peer network of chief executives and business leaders.”
     He claims that Young Presidents arranged the carjacking and hostage-taking with Special Operations Training Group and with Key Events – though Key Events is not named as a defendant.
     Barber says the ordeal he was subjected to was preparation for what the defendants were planning to do during a Young Presidents’ “military day event.”
     He claims the three companies and the three individual defendants “conspired, and agreed, that Barber would not be informed about the terrorist hostage simulation for the purpose of keeping the simulation as real as possible.”
     It was realistic, all right, Barber says. He seeks punitive damages for assault, conspiracy to commit assault, false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     He is represented by Bibianne Fell, with Gomez Trial Attorneys, of San Diego.
     The lawsuit was filed Jan. 16 in Superior Court.

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